After sending one left-hander to the mound in the series opener against the New York Mets, the Los Angeles Dodgers called on another to start the second of the four-game series. The first was Clayton Kershaw, reigning National League MVP and hardly mistakable. Friday’s pitcher was Ian Thomas, making his first career Major League start, who, from afar, can be confused for Kershaw.
Whereas Kershaw threw a complete-game shutout, Thomas followed with five quality innings, striking out five and allowing one run on three hits. Given their limited success against either left-hander, the Mets may have felt as though Kershaw and Thomas were one in the same.
After the Dodgers’ win Thomas addressed his resemblance to Kershaw, via ESPN:
I’ve been called Clayton a few times so far,” Thomas said. “I guess it’s the scruff and the hair a little bit, but far away from what he’s been doing. Trying to catch up to him is gonna be a long road.”
Considering the current state of the Dodgers’ rotation, not much more could’ve been asked from Thomas. While the Dodgers may poke at Thomas fun by calling him Kershaw, they made his first career start in the Majors all the easier by providing early run support.
As for his part, Thomas said he focused on getting his full arsenal of pitches over early, according to J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News:
I just try to stay within myself, keep the confidence up, establish all my pitches early,” Thomas said. “That’s what I tried to do. (Don) Mattingly was saying ‘go in it like you’re relieving’ — like I had been in my past couple outings and earlier, down in Oklahoma City.”
Thomas this season has made five starts with Triple-A Oklahoma City and eight appearances overall. He’s 4-1 with a 6.30 ERA, 1.60 WHIP and has 28 strikeouts to 10 walks over 30 innings down in the Minors.