Clayton Kershaw threw another eight innings Sunday and collected his MLB-best 19th win, but the outing wasn’t exactly typical of what the left-hander has turned in as of late.
The Los Angeles Dodgers handed Kershaw a 2-0 lead in the second inning that was then cut to 2-1 in the third. Although he had control issues with his breaking balls, Kershaw didn’t allow another run until the seventh at which point the Dodgers still led 4-2.
The San Francisco Giants’ second run was sparked by Yusmeiro Petit working a long at-bat before drawing a walk on a full count. Not being able to put the opposing pitcher away was certainly uncharacteristic for Kershaw and in a sense, it depicted the kind of day he had — nothing was easy.
Following the win, manager Don Mattingly praised Kershaw for sticking to his plan and likened the ace of the pitching staff to a train, via ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon:
We kind of call him ‘The Big Train,’ because he just keeps coming,” Mattingly said. “Even though Posey had hit a couple balls and squared him up, we knew he was going to still be on the attack. That doesn’t always mean just throwing guys pitches to hit, it means he’s going to go after him and he’s trying to throw strikes or use his pitches. I think everything’s personal with him.”
It took some convincing from Kershaw to get manager Don Mattingly to retreat to the dugout in the eighth inning without bringing the hook. As it turns out, leaving Kershaw in the game was a wise choice as he struck out Buster Posey and got Hunter Pence to fly out in a six-pitch inning.
The quick inning allowed Kershaw to again complete eight innings of work — a point he’s now reached in his last seven starts — and stay below his season-high 115 pitch mark (he finished with 110).
Kershaw’s next scheduled start is Friday against the Chicago Cubs and he’s then slated to face the Giants at Chavez Ravine Sept. 24.
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