Periodically, Clayton Kershaw will take the mound and walk off it looking human. Tuesday was one of those nights as the ace of the Los Angeles Dodgers staff wasn’t the overpowering pitcher he’s largely been this season.
Granted, a less than stellar performance from Kershaw still reads as three runs allowed in seven innings and seven strikeouts. While this year’s rendition of the Freeway Series has the added label of a potential World Series preview, Tuesday also marked the first time Kershaw and Mike Trout faced one another in a regular season game.
However, Kershaw wasn’t interested in discussing the particulars of facing Trout, via ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon:
I’ll talk about the Angels, sure, he’s one of their best hitters, absolutely.”
When pressed further, Kershaw continued to rebuff the opportunity to elaborate:
Who are you talking about? I’m not going to talk about individual at-bats. I mean he’s a great hitter and he got two hits tonight, so tip your cap.”
Trout reached on an infield single in the first inning and doubled down the third-base line in the third inning. Kershaw then greeted Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s center fielder with three consecutive fastballs and Trout was called out on strikes in the fifth.
The third inning was the last the Angels would truly threaten against Kershaw. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner finished his night of work by retiring 11 of the last 13 batters he faced.
Kershaw exited with a 4-3 lead after seven innings only to see Brian Wilson give up the game-tying home run to Albert Pujols in the eighth. With the three runs allowed, Kershaw’s ERA increased ever so slightly from 1.71 to 1.82, which is still best in the Majors.
The no-decision was Kershaw’s second in his last 12 starts and he’s yet to suffer a loss since May 28, when he also allowed three runs over seven innings.
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