As another prized left-hander in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Clayton Kershaw has drawn countless comparisons to Sandy Koufax.
However, Kershaw’s brilliance this season began to associate his name with another former Dodger pitcher — Orel Hershiser. Heading into Thursday’s start, Kershaw hadn’t allowed a run in 36 consecutive innings.
The scoreless streak was good for third all-time in franchise history behind Don Drysdale’s 58 scoreless innings and Hershiser’s 59. Kershaw ran his total to 41 innings before surrendering a home run to Chase Headley in the sixth.
According to Bill Plaschke of the LA Times, Hershiser was disappointed to see Kershaw give up the run:
I was truly sad to see that ball go over the fence, I was really hoping he would throw 140 consecutive scoreless,” said Hershiser immediately after the game-tying homer, which he watched from the SportsNet LA studios. “He’s an amazing pitcher, and I would have loved to see it happen for him.”
While many were amazed by Kershaw’s streak, the left-hander downplayed its significance following his complete-game victory. Beginning with his first June start, the Dodger ace has overpowered opposing batters to the tune of 80 strikeouts and an impressive 0.74 ERA.
Kershaw’s stretch of scoreless innings was no doubt dominant, so too was Hershiser’s. During his 59-inning stretch, the right-hander threw six complete games and went 10 innings in another start that went into the 16th inning.
The Dodgers have been blessed with great pitching and though Kershaw may not match Hershiser’s scoreless innings record, he has already etched his name among Dodger greats.
Dodgers History: MLB Facts About Clayton Kershaw’s No-Hitter