With each passing start Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has turned the rumblings into whispers. Gone are the days where the reigning National League MVP is questioned every step of the way, as those questions have now turned to what will he do next?
On Thursday Kershaw faced a New York Mets lineup with four hitters with batting averages below the Mendoza Line; their No. 4 and 5 hitters both had batting averages under .180. The results as you might expect went heavily in Kershaw’s favor.
He retired the first 18 batters faced, half on strikeout. Curtis Granderson broke up Kershaw’s perfect game with a leadoff single in the seventh inning. After catching the left-hander’s complete-game shutout, Yasmani Grandal said he believed Kershaw was well on his way to a perfect game, according to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
Oh yeah – I definitely thought we were going to see a perfect game tonight,” Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal said. “The way that he was throwing, the way that they were swinging – you could tell he was on. I definitely thought we had a chance to get a perfect game.”
Kershaw meanwhile didn’t give quite as much thought to a perfect game and once he did, had his hopes quickly dashed, via Time Warner Cable SportsNet LA:
Right about the time he got a hit. Once the seventh inning rolls around, it could be possible. It didn’t last very long.”
The Mets added two more hits on the night, removing some of the sting and wonders of what could’ve been. It’s a feeling Kershaw is already somewhat familiar with as the no-hitter he threw last season, the only of his career, was a Hanley Ramirez error from being a perfect game.
Kershaw nonetheless still made history at Citi Field as according to ESPN Stats and Info, he became the first pitcher since 1900 with three consecutive scoreless starts with at least 10 strikeouts while walking none.