Fifth time was a charm for the struggling Clayton Kershaw, as the reigning National League MVP earned his 100th career win Friday night at Dodger Stadium by throwing 6.2 innings against the Colorado Rockies.
At 27 years and 57 days, Kershaw became the second youngest active pitcher to reach the milestone and fifth overall in Los Angeles franchise history. Felix Hernandez reached 100 career wins in 2013 at 27 years old and 14 days.
While Kershaw got the proverbial monkey off his back, he wasn’t overly enthusiastic about the 100th win. “It’s something to celebrate, I guess,” he said relatively monotone. “Hopefully it’s just getting started. I guess it’s kind of cool.”
Kershaw thought his overall pitching performance was improved Friday night compared to starts prior, but also added the need (his words) for him to consistently pitch seven innings, which he’s done just twice in eight starts this season.
Kershaw’s first opportunity at a 100th win came back on April 22 when he squared off with Madison Bumgarner at AT&T Park. The Dodgers’ ace walked away with a no-decision and suffered a loss in a rematch six days later.
In total, 23 days passed between Kershaw’s 99th and 100th wins. The stretch of time wasn’t his biggest focus or issue. “Not winning bothers me,” Kershaw said. “I’m OK if I don’t get it.” Not one to find much satisfaction in personal accolades, the three-time Cy Young Award winner later offered more revealing remarks and insight to his view and expectations.
“I feel an obligation to this team, the organization and to everybody, to pitch well,” Kershaw said. “I feel like they’ve made a huge investment in me to do that, so that’s really the only thing I feel. I feel somewhat bad at times. I’m trying, hopefully tonight gets us going.”
As for the perception of something being off with Kershaw this season, he’s paying no mind to it. “I never read what you guys write,” he said with a smile across his face. “It doesn’t really affect me one way or the other.” Kershaw’s 100 wins rank 22nd in Dodgers’ franchise history with Don Sutton’s 233 career wins topping the list.
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