Heading into Friday night’s matchup with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw had a 37-inning scoreless inning streak on the line.
It took one pitch for that to end as Gregory Polanco homered to break the streak and give the Pirates an early lead. A back-and-forth battle ensued and Kershaw had his worst start in over a month, allowing four runs in six innings of work. It was the most earned runs allowed since May 21 and the most visibly frustrated since his start against the Texas Rangers on June 17. The reigning MVP battled all night and the Dodgers got him off the hook by scoring in the top of the seventh, but ultimately, they fell in extra innings.
According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Kershaw broke down his rough start:
It was a tough one, I struggled all the way through, pretty much” said Kershaw. “Give the Pirates credit. They did a good job battling me the whole night. I didn’t have good stuff. Two strikes a few times, I couldn’t put anybody away. Both of my breaking balls weren’t working the way I wanted to. One of those nights.”
What probably frustrated Kershaw the most was a bases loaded walk with two outs to light-hitting catcher Chris Stewart. Kershaw started the count 3-0 and worked it to a full count, but couldn’t find the strike zone a third time and tied the game at two.
The left-hander admitted he should have done differently during that at-bat:
Once I get to two outs with a runner on third, I like to throw out of the windup,” he said. “Because I had thrown so many out of stretch that inning, I didn’t have good rhythm. My mistake, I should have stayed out of stretch, guess after 3-0 it was too late. There had to be at least 30 in row I threw from the stretch. It probably messed up the routine a little there.”
The Dodgers send Mat Latos to the mound on Saturday, looking for a win against the team with the second-best record in the NL.