LOS ANGELES — On a cold and windy night at Dodger Stadium, Clayton Kershaw warmed up with a strong final tuneup for the regular season. The left-hander pitched six scoreless innings, striking out seven in a 3-0 win over the Angels.
Kershaw struck out Mike Trout swinging on curveball in the first inning, followed by getting Shohei Ohtani on a slider. Kershaw retired his first 11 batters faced on Sunday.
Seven strikeouts? Kersh was cruising. pic.twitter.com/7rNjm7Dhx2— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 27, 2023
Kershaw got Trout again in the fourth, this time on a slider, and again on a curveball in the sixth. In their regular season matchups, Trout struck out six times in 23 plate appearances, hitting .200/.304/.400 against Kershaw. On Sunday night, Kershaw struck him out all three times he faced him.
Kershaw got 10 swinging strikes on the slider alone, and 15 swinging strikes overall in his 74 pitches.
“The slider was definitely better. I threw some bad ones, too, but overall the consistency was better with it. I got some swings and misses,” Kershaw said. “Overall, it was a good step forward for me.”
There were some hard-hit balls, a few that died on the warning track, plus a great diving catch of a line drive by shortstop Miguel Rojas, but only three landed for singles against Kershaw, to go with no walks.
There were also two pitch-timer violations, with home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez charging a ball to Kershaw’s ledger in both the fifth and sixth innings.
Kershaw’s next start will be Saturday against the Diamondbacks, in the Dodgers’ third game of the regular season.
Dodgers batters had some hard-hit balls of their own, including a pair that left the yard on back-to-back home runs in the second inning.
Max Muncy hit the first one, off left-hander Tucker Davidson, a high drive to center that drifted more toward right field, but more importantly, over the wall for the game’s first score.
Chris Taylor followed with a home run to left, after Dave Roberts before the game said he saw some good swings recently,
“The timing was much better, he was much more on time today and the last few days,” Roberts added after the game. “Today was a byproduct.”
James Outman didn’t start on Sunday, but he did pinch hit in the eighth inning and added a solo shot of his own, off Angels right-hander Jaime Barría. It was Outman’s first at-bat at Dodger Stadium.
The game lasted only two hours, eight minutes.
“Hopefully they sold enough beer,” Kershaw said.
Home runs: Max Muncy (3), Chris Taylor (2), James Outman (3)
WP — Clayton Kershaw: 6 IP, 3 hits, 7 strikeouts
LP — Tucker Davidson: 4⅓ IP, 3 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Sv — Shelby Miller: 1 IP, 1 hit, 2 strikeouts
The Freeway Series shifts to Anaheim on Monday night (6:07 p.m. PT, SportsNet LA; KCOP channel 13). Noah Syndergaard starts for the Dodgers, with old friend Tyler Anderson starting for the Angels.