The last time the Los Angeles Dodgers were on a season-worst losing streak, Clayton Kershaw struck out seven over six shutout innings to help snap the skid. He nor the Dodgers fared nearly as well a second time around.
The Colorado Rockies opened the game with four consecutive hits, marking the first time in Kershaw’s career he’s endured such a first inning. A single and double were followed by Nolan Arenado’s towering three-run homer. Mark Reynolds singled before Kershaw recorded an out.
“First [two] guys get on base, third guy hits a homer,” a visibly frustrated Kershaw said. “You’re probably not in a good spot. It happened quick tonight.”
The laborious inning required Kershaw to throw 28 pitches. He was tracking for a more efficient inning in the second, but Chris Taylor’s inexplicable error washed away that possibility. Kershaw was removed at 86 pitches with two outs in the fourth.
He flung his glove against the wall in the dugout and let out a yell. “Bad nights are going to happen, pitching-wise,” Kershaw said. “I picked a really bad time to have a bad night. It was just not very good.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the early hook was not tied to Kershaw’s back strain that sidelined him for nearly six weeks. “To start that fourth inning with 71 pitches I felt he could have a quick inning and feel good about that outing,” Roberts said.
“As we got up to 85, 86, I felt I just didn’t want to push him any further. For me, to get him up four times to try and build that pitch count in some way but not go too extreme, it’s a tough one.”
The loss was Kershaw’s third this season and first since May 1 in a home outing against the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers had won 16 consecutive games Kershaw started, which set a franchise record.
Next for the three-time Cy Young Award winner is a start Wednesday, again on an extra day of rest, in the series finale at AT&T Park.