Clayton Kershaw took the mound Friday night at Petco Field with plenty of momentum behind him. After starting the season 2-3 through his first nine outings leading to speculation he’s no longer the dominant pitcher of years past, the left-hander was 3-0 with a 0.82 ERA in his last three starts.
Kershaw opened the bottom of the first by getting Wil Myers to ground out, and he followed it by blowing a 94 MPH fastball by Derek Norris to strike the San Diego Padres’ catcher out swinging. Then facing Justin Upton, Kershaw’s 1-0 pitch was lined back at him, hitting his left hip area and ricochetting toward second base.
Adrian Gonzalez went to his right to make a play on the ball as Kershaw didn’t miss a beat and busted for first base. While a valiant effort, Upton reached on an infield single; though he wouldn’t score as the Dodgers’ ace ended the inning two batters later.
Manager Don Mattingly and vice president of medical services Stan Conte came out to check on Kershaw, who remained in the game after trying to wave Conte and Mattingly away. While not nearly as serious, the play was somewhat reminiscent of Kershaw being struck on the face in Spring Training by a soft liner.