Clayton Kershaw Sets Dodgers Record For Most Strikeouts To Begin Game, Inches Closer To Randy Johnson’s Live-Ball Era Record
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw in a start against the Miami Marlins
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Clayton Kershaw fell just short of making MLB history in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 9-1 win over the Miami Marlins, but according to the Elias Sports Bureau, he set the Modern Era (since 1900) franchise record for most strikeouts to start a game with seven.

Kershaw surpassed the previous Dodgers record that was held by Andy Messersmith, who struck out the first six batters on May 28, 1973, against the Philadelphia Phillies.

The eighth hitter Kershaw faced, Lewis Brinson, grounded out to shortstop Corey Seager on an 0-2 pitch to end the streak. Kershaw was one strike away from tying the MLB record of eight, shared by Jim Deshaies (1986), Jacob deGrom (2014) and German Marquez (2018).

Kershaw was dominant all night long, taking a perfect game into the fifth inning and finishing with seven shutout innings to earn his 12th victory of the season. He allowed just two hits while striking out 10 and walking none.

The performance marked the eighth time in Kershaw’s career he struck out 10 or more without issuing a walk, which tied Pedro Martinez and Chris Sale for second-most in the live-ball era. That only trails Randy Johnson’s 11, per STATS LLC.

Kershaw faced some questions and had plenty of detractors heading into the 2019 season, and to this point he has been able to prove them wrong. Kershaw has gone at least six innings in all 21 of his starts and is 12-2 with a 2.63 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 141 strikeouts and 28 walks in 137 innings.

He now has 165 career wins, which ties with Sandy Koufax for the most by a left-hander in Dodgers franchise history. It took Kershaw 339 games (337 starts) to reach that milestone, while Koufax did it in 397 games (314 starts). Overall, they are tied for fifth on the Dodgers’ all-time wins list.

Earlier this season, Kershaw surpassed Koufax for most strikeouts by a southpaw and moved into third overall in franchise history; trailing Don Sutton and Don Drysdale.

Messersmith, whose name is no longer etched in Dodgers history after being surpassed by Kershaw, tossed a complete game while allowing seven hits and a run with 12 strikeouts in that game that he began with six consecutive strikeouts in 1973.

He was named an All-Star twice in four seasons across two stints with the Dodgers, going 55-34 with a 2.67 ERA in his time in Los Angeles.