Clayton Kershaw had his worst start of the season, missing very few bats and uncharacteristically missing the strike zone in the Dodgers’ 7-4 loss to the Rockies on Tuesday night at Coors Field.
The Rockies scored in all four innings against Kershaw, his six runs allowed the most earned runs charged to his ledger since June 19, 2017 against the Mets. Kershaw’s nine hits allowed were his most since opening day 2021, which was also in Denver. But it was the wildness that got Tuesday off on bad footing.
Kershaw entered Tuesday with a 4.1-percent walk rate, seventh-lowest among major league pitchers with at least 40 innings. He only walked seven batters in his first eight starts, never more than two in a game.
He walked two in each of the first two innings on Tuesday.
Kershaw this season before Tuesday got to a three-ball count this season just 15.7 percent of the time, below the MLB average of 19.7 percent. But against the Rockies he got to three balls six times in 25 batters. Four of those ended in walks, Kershaw’s most in a start since August 1, 2019, and Randall Grichuk slammed a full-count home run in the second inning.
Kershaw’s wildness had a multiplying effect, with the Rockies jumping on his best chance for a strike, putting seven first pitches in play. Five went for hits, including two RBI singles and a home run, the latter by Elias Díaz in the third.
Colorado got six hits off Kershaw’s fastball, which he threw 26 times on Tuesday but got no swinging strikes.
Mile high lows for LA
The Dodgers scored single runs in the first two innings against Kyle Freeland, but couldn’t keep pace with the rate Colorado was putting up runs against Kershaw.
Freeland allowed three runs, including solo home runs by Hanser Alberto and Max Muncy. But the left-hander was able to last six innings on Tuesday, meaning the first look the Dodgers got at the Rockies bullpen came in the sixteenth inning of the series.
Los Angeles has scored just 15 runs in five games in Denver this season, with five games left to play there — one more Wednesday night, then a four-game series from July 28-31. The fewest runs per game the Dodgers have ever scored in a season at Coors Field is 4.33, a decade ago.
This year, they’ve scored only three runs per game in Denver, which helps explain why they’ve lost four out of five road games to the Rockies.
- Phil Bickford pitched a perfect fifth inning with two strikeouts, appearing in his third game in a row. Bickford is the third Dodger to pitch on three consecutive days this season, joining Alex Vesia (May 20-22) and Brusdar Graterol (Friday to Sunday in Atlanta).
- Jake Lamb made his Dodgers debut after getting called up from Triple-A before the game, pinch-hitting in the eighth inning against Alex Colomé. Lamb struck out.
Home runs: Hanser Alberto (2), Max Muncy (6), Trea Turner (11); Randall Grichuk (8), Elias Díaz (5)
WP — Kyle Freeland (4-5): 6 IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts
LP — Clayton Kershaw (5-2): 4 IP, 9 hits, 6 runs, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts
One more night game left in the series on Wednesday (5:40 p.m. PT, SportsNet LA), ending the road trip with Julio Urías on the mound against Germán Márquez.