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Clayton Kershaw is back in Oakland, closing in on Don Sutton

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Second start of the season for Kershaw, five strikeouts shy of a new record

Los Angeles Dodgers v Oakland Athletics Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images

The Dodgers try for a fifth straight win on Tuesday evening, and Clayton Kershaw makes what has been a regular appearance for him every three years in Oakland.

Kershaw has three no-decisions in three career starts against the A’s at the Coliseum, or whatever it’s called now. In 2012 he pitched eight innings, in 2015 he threw seven innings — and was as mad as I’ve ever seen him on a baseball field — then in 2018 he pitched six innings. He’s allowed four total runs in those previous three starts in Oakland.

Does that mean we’re in for a five-inning outing on Tuesday night?

What’s more important for Kershaw is that he has better command than he did on opening day, when he pitched 5⅔ innings but also allowed six runs and 10 hits to the Rockies, generating only six swinging strikes.

“The slider just didn’t have the depth that it usually does,” manager Dave Roberts said Thursday.

Kershaw could reach a milestone on Tuesday night. Though he only struck out two batters on Thursday, he has 2,528 strikeouts in his career. That’s still 168 behind franchise leader Don Sutton, the Hall of Fame right-hander who died in January. But counting regular season and postseason numbers combined, Kershaw is closing in on Sutton.

Sutton struck out 43 batters in his 11 postseason starts for the Dodgers in 1974, 1977, and 1978, giving him 2,739 combined strikeouts in the regular season and postseason. Kershaw, whose 207 postseason strikeouts are the most by any pitcher in MLB history, has 2,735 combined strikeouts in his career.

With four strikeouts Tuesday night, he’d tie Sutton for the most in Dodgers history, and with five strikeouts Kershaw would stand alone on top.

Game info

  • Teams: Dodgers at A’s
  • Location: Oakland Coliseum
  • Time: 6:40 p.m. PT
  • TV: SportsNet LA