Clayton Kershaw took the mound Sunday looking to get the Los Angeles Dodgers a series win over the Colorado Rockies. The left-hander entered the game with a career record of 5-3 and ERA over 5.00.
The Dodgers jumped out to an early lead in the first inning, which Kershaw wanted to use to challenge the Rockies, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
It’s no secret that I haven’t pitched well here in the past [5.24 ERA at Coors Field coming in], and I wanted to establish the fastball, especially with a two-run lead early. Make them beat you,” said Kershaw, who not only wasn’t bothered by the elements, but said the steady rain probably helped him.
The aggression in the first inning resulted in Kershaw striking out the side, which set the tone for the remainder of the game. With a steady rain falling as the game progressed, Kershaw viewed it as an opportunity to throw a better breaking ball:
“I talked to Jamey Wright [who pitched in Colorado for six years] and he said the rain sometimes helps, the moisture on the ball helps with the break.”
Kershaw finished the rain-shortened game with nine strikeouts, which he’s now done in six of his eight starts this season. One of the three hits he allowed was to Troy Tulowitzki, who hit a solo home run in the fourth inning that cut the Dodgers’ lead to one.
With his full arsenal of pitches working, Kershaw also struck out the side in the second inning and had at least one strikeout in four of the five innings he pitched. The win has Kershaw at 5-2 this season with a 3.17 ERA and he is now 4-2 since being reinstated from the disabled list.
PHOTOS: Dodgers And Rockies Play In The Rain