Coming off four consecutive outings of going at least seven innings, with the latter being wins, Clayton Kershaw took the mound Saturday to face the St. Louis Cardinals for the first time since last October. While the Kershaw-Cardinals matchup was a prevailing storyline, the Dodgers were looking to snap a three-game losing streak against a team they’d dropped four of five games to this season.
All the reigning National League MVP did was go on to strikeout 11 in eight scoreless innings as the Dodgers got back in the win column behind their ace, and a timely RBI double from Yasiel Puig. Kershaw hit Matt Carpenter with a pitch in the first inning, allowed a one-out single in the second, and walked two batters.
He otherwise kept the Cardinals off the basepaths, which was key when considering Jaime Garcia also turned in a strong outing before the Dodgers finally managed to break through in the seventh inning for two runs. While the win has for now quieted some of the talk of the Cardinals “owning” Kershaw, his comments suggested Saturday was simply just another start.
“I don’t know, I never like to say dominating,” he began with when asked about his performance. “I was able to get some quick outs. It’s always nice to get the first guy out of an inning, things like that. I don’t really know, I guess just throwing strikes and hoping for the best.”
Did Kershaw find any extra satisfaction in defeating the Cardinals? “No,” he answered. While acknowledging plenty has transpired between Kershaw and the Cardinals, A.J. Ellis also downplayed the notion of a fierce personal rivalry. “Definitely overblown,” he said.
The win improved Kershaw to 6-5 with a 3.18 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 15 regular-season starts against the Cardinals. When facing the Cardinals at Dodger Stadium, Kershaw is 2-0 with 24 strikeouts over a combined 15 scoreless innings in his last two outings.
Overall this season Kershaw is 3-0 in his last three starts, throwing 22 innings, racking up 28 strikeouts, and allowing two runs on 10 hits. Further proving talks of his demise were exaggerated, at best.
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