Clayton Kershaw was denied a shutout when Mac Williamson hit a solo home run in the eighth inning, but the three-time Cy Young Award otherwise helped lead the Los Angeles Dodgers in his 18th win of the season. It’s tied for most in the Majors and leads the National League.
Kershaw struck out six over his eight innings of work, including getting the final batter he faced — Gorkys Hernandez — to swing over the top of a back-foot slider. That gave Kershaw 200 strikeouts on the season.
He’s the first ever Dodgers pitcher to have seven such seasons in his career. “I guess the one thing it does mean is you can take pride in your consistency,” said Kershaw, who is not one to make much of personal accomplishments.
“I think that’s something really important as a starter, to be out there every fifth day for the whole season. I’ve missed time the last two years, which is something I really don’t like to do.”
Kershaw began the year tied with Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale at six seasons with a minimum of 200 strikeouts. He likely would have reached the mark last season if not for a herniated disc that sidelined him for 10 weeks.
At the time of being put on the disabled list in 2016, Kershaw led the Majors with 145 strikeouts and was on pace to shatter Phil Hughes’ strikeout-to-walk ratio record. The Dodgers ace was again slowed by injury this season, as he spent five weeks on the DL.
Kershaw previously crossed another milestone this season when he reached 2,000 career strikeouts in June. The 29-year-old became the third-fastest pitcher (by innings) all-time to reach the benchmark.
Only Randy Johnson (262) was quicker than Kershaw (277) when evaluated by games pitched. Overall, Kershaw became the 79th pitcher in MLB history to reach 2,000 career strikeouts.