Coming off a Cy Young season, Clayton Kershaw began 2014 with a new seven-year contract extension in hand that made him the highest-paid pitcher in baseball history and with it came elevated expectations.
The southpaw’s season got off to an ominous start as Kershaw managed to take the mound only once — the 2014 season opener in Australia — before landing on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. He missed one month of the regular season in what some called a blessing in disguise, though Kershaw never quite bought in to that notion.
In just his third start back from the DL, Kershaw was roughed up in the desert by the Arizona Diamondbacks to the tune of seven runs in just 1.2 innings; marking the second-shortest outing of his career. While it was a low point in his season, Kershaw never allowed more than three runs in the 23 regular-season starts that followed.
Beginning with his June 2 start, Kershaw went on an 11-game winning streak over his next 13 starts. Included in the stretch was 41 consecutive scoreless innings and his first career no-hitter. Kershaw took the mound on an unassuming night June 18 and put together one of the most dominant outings in MLB history.
If not for a Hanley Ramirez error, the Dodger ace would’ve secured his first career perfect game. Instead, Kershaw settled for a no-hitter complete with a career-best 15 strikeouts and no walks. The complete game was the second of 17 consecutive starts in which the southpaw threw at least seven innings.
After his no-hitter, much of the attention shifted to Kershaw’s scoreless innings streak as he closed in on Orel Hershiser’s record and appeared poised to surpass the famed Dodger right-hander. At the time with the San Diego Padres, Chase Headley brought an end to the streak with a solo home run in the sixth inning on July 10 at Dodger Stadium.
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