The Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitchers have been on a roll as of late, and that continued Tuesday night when Clayton Kershaw turned in a solid outing to help his team earn a victory in their series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
Kershaw did not allow a runner to reach second base until the sixth inning, and overall allowed just six hits and two runs in 6.1 innings while striking out a season-high eight batters and walking just one.
Both of the runs charged to Kershaw scored after he was removed from the game in the seventh inning. Kershaw gave up a single to Daniel Robertson and double to Guillermo Heredia with one out to mark the end of his day. Other than that inning, Kershaw was pleased with his ability to limit hard contact, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“Other than that last inning, I thought everything went pretty well. Not a whole lot of hard contact, it was alright.”
The hit that Kershaw was actually the least happy about was a two-out single to Austin Meadows in the third inning. Kershaw had him down in the count 0-2 before hanging a curveball that Meadows whacked into right field.
Kershaw admitted that he probably shouldn’t have shaken off catcher Austin Barnes, and if he was going to throw a curveball, he needed to bury it in the dirt:
“I think at least half of the hits I had shaken off [Austin Barnes], so I think he had a really good feel for those guys today and I should have shaken off less. I think 0-2 right there you just don’t want to hang a curveball and Meadows hits curveballs pretty decently actually so I wanted to try and bounce it and didn’t get it in the dirt.”
Being a perfectionist, Kershaw is never going to be totally happy with his outings no matter how well he throws. The fact of the matter is though that the Dodgers have not lost a regular-season game that he has started since Aug. 13 of last season. They have won 20 straight games that he has pitched.
In Kershaw’s first seven starts of the season, he is 4-0 with a 3.33 ERA and 0.98 WHIP with 44 strikeouts and eight walks in 46 innings. He may not be as dominant as he once was, but Kershaw continues to find ways to be effective and gives his team a chance to win every time he takes the mound.