With a three-game winning streak in tow, the Los Angeles Dodgers sent Clayton Kershaw to the mound Saturday to face a Miami Marlins team that was without Giancarlo Stanton, who suffered a broken bone in his left wrist.
Last season, Kershaw starting meant a Dodgers win with near certainty. It’s been a different story in 2015 — at times Kershaw’s fault, other times a lack of run support being to blame. On Saturday it was a mixture of both.
The reigning National League MVP allowed three runs, though only one earned, and struck out nine in seven innings. After a rough bottom of the first inning that saw an Andre Ethier throwing error and wild pitch roll away that resulted in two runs for the Marlins, Kershaw believed he settled in, via Time Warner Cable SportsNet LA:
Just a couple of balls that weren’t hit that hard. It was really just the wild pitch… I threw that one really short and gave up a second run, which you never want to do. I wasn’t really sharp the first few innings, but I started figuring it out there towards the end and felt pretty good.”
The loss was Kershaw’s third consecutive. While win-losses for a pitcher is a stat that’s largely been devalued in recent years, it’s nonetheless a first in the left-hander’s career. When asked if there was any frustration that came with it, Kershaw denied that being the case:
I’m fine. I mean, it never feels good to lose. But, I mean yeah, I’m fine. It’s OK.”
Some of the Dodgers’ troubles in the first inning was tied to Kershaw not getting over enough to backup Ethier’s throw to third base. The ball was wide of the bag and got by Justin Turner, which allowed Christian Yelich to score.
Moreover, Adeiny Hechavarria, who hit the single to right field, was able to advance to third base, which made him scoring on the wild pitch possible. Aside from Kershaw suffering a loss in his last three outings, he hasn’t necessarily pitched poorly after appearing to hit a groove in late May and into June.
Only twice in his last six starts has Kershaw allowed more than two earned runs. Included in that stretch was three double-digit strikeout games, which have been followed by back-to-back outings in which the three-time Cy Young Award winner has recorded nine strikeouts.
Kershaw is now 5-6 with a 3.20 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, though leads the Majors with a 2.18 xFIP and 140 strikeouts heading into play Sunday.