After eight shutout innings with eight strikeouts in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 9-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies, Clayton Kershaw has now gone 36 consecutive innings without allowing a single run.
During the streak, Kershaw has a no-hitter and has been utterly dominant since June began, proving that his record-breaking contract in the off-season was no fluke. Nobody knows the left-handed ace better than his catcher and best friend A.J. Ellis, who has been behind the plate for the historic stretch.
According to Dylan Hernandez of the LA times, Ellis gave some insight as to why the reigning Cy Young award winner has been so dominant:
The biggest thing for me has been the consistency of the breaking balls,” Ellis said. “Usually, he’ll have his ‘A’ slider but maybe his ‘C’ or ‘D’ curveball or vice versa, where the slider’s not working but the curveball is. During this run, he’s had an ‘A’ curveball and an ‘A’ slider this entire time. They’re both just electric strikeout pitches, which is why I think you’re seeing him have strikeout totals that have been unmatched in his career. He gets to two strikes, he could go either way.”
In his last seven starts, Kershaw has racked up 69 strikeouts to go along with a 0.69 ERA in 52 innings pitched. He has struck out at least eight batter in each start during that period and finished with a new career-high 15 strikeouts during his no-hitter. While his curveball has been one of his best pitches in his career, he has started using his slider more this season with great results.
Kershaw is 23 innings away from tying Orel Hershiser’s record for most consecutive scoreless innings in major-league history. The left-hander should reach the inning minimum to be eligible for ERA in the big leagues and his 1.85 ERA would lead all pitchers. Kershaw’s next start will come next weekend at Dodger Stadium against the San Diego Padres.
Dodgers History: MLB Facts About Clayton Kershaw’s No-Hitter