Clayton Kershaw put the finishing touches on a stellar June with six more scoreless innings, and J.D. Martinez homered twice to lead the Dodgers over the Rockies 5-0 on Tuesday night at Coors Field in Denver.
In 255 games in 31 years of coming to games in Denver, this was just the ninth Dodgers shut out of the Rockies.
Kershaw didn’t allow a baserunner until walking Elias Díaz to start the fifth inning, and didn’t allow a hit until Brenton Doyle’s two-out single in the sixth. Díaz was erased on a double play and Doyle was picked off first base, meaning Kershaw faced the minimum 18 batters in his six scoreless innings, joining Randy Johnson on May 15, 2017 as the only pitchers at Coors Field to face the minimum number of batters in a start of at least six innings.
For Kershaw, it was his fifth scoreless start of the season and third in his last four outings, completing a June that saw him allow only four total runs in five starts, with a 1.09 ERA in 33 innings. It’s the ninth-lowest ERA for Kershaw in any month of his career with at least four starts.
Kershaw was pulled after only 79 pitches in his six innings, which set off alarm bells that weren’t exactly alleviated with postgame comments.
“We’ve been riding him a lot. You look at his last few starts, we’ve pushed him a lot. Tonight, whatever it was, there was fatigue set in,” manager Dave Roberts said after the game, as shown on SportsNet LA. “We had a good conversation and felt it was the right thing to do to pass the baton and move forward.”
Dave Roberts on Kershaw's outing and his takeaways from tonight's win over the Rockies. pic.twitter.com/jMUH2epjuv— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) June 28, 2023
Roberts did say Kershaw would have an extra day of rest before his next start, which lines him up for Monday at Dodger Stadium against the Pirates. Perhaps.
“That last inning kind of got to me,” Kershaw said, as shown on SportsNet LA. “I just needed to come out right there. I think I’m alright. I think I’ll be good for the next start, and it’s just something — I was trying to do the right thing, and I think I did.”
Kershaw didn’t go into specifics regarding why he was feeling fatigued.
“We’ll see tomorrow. I’ll give an update tomorrow on how I’m doing,” Kershaw said. “But I don’t think it’s too serious, and I don’t think I’ll miss a start. I should be alright.”
"Just needed to come out right there. I think I'm all right, I think I'll be good for the next start." Clayton Kershaw on his outing. pic.twitter.com/G7cmViC0v3— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) June 28, 2023
The Dodgers backed Kershaw early with two runs in the second inning, including a double by the red-hot David Peralta and an RBI single by James Outman, back at Coors Field for the first time since his major league debut.
Martinez took over in the third, hitting a two-run home run against Connor Seabold. Then he hit a solo shot off Brad Hand in the sixth inning, for the 300th home run of Martinez’s career, the second Dodger to reach that milestone this season.
Kershaw has started nine times after a loss this season, and he has a 2.14 ERA in those games, of which the Dodgers have won eight.
If there was any downer in a shutout win at Coors Field for the Dodgers, it was Phil Bickford, tasked with getting through the ninth inning with a big lead. But he walked three of his five batters faced to load the bases, necessitating Evan Phillips pitch for the third time in four days. Phillips got the final out, a camera-tricking deep fly to the warning track in left, but an out nonetheless to keep Colorado’s tally at zero.
Home runs: J.D. Martinez 2 (18)
WP — Clayton Kershaw (10-4): 6 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
LP — Connor Seabold (1-4): 5 IP, 5 hits, 4 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
Sv — Evan Phillips (11): 1 up, 1 down
The Dodgers will go with a bullpen game on Wednesday night (5:40 p.m. PT, SportsNet LA), with left-hander Kyle Freeland on the mound for the Rockies.