The last time Clayton Kershaw was on the mound he threw a second complete-game shutout in three starts. The one outing where Kershaw didn’t go nine innings, he settled for 14 strikeouts over eight scoreless frames.
While the reigning National League MVP generated plenty of buzz with a remarkable month’s worth of starts in July, he was stalled a bit with hip soreness that forced him to twice be scratched from a start in three days.
Kershaw returned to the mound Saturday afternoon at Dodger Stadium for the second game in the Freeway Series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He fought some early control issues, which was to be expected given his last start was July 23, before settling in and picking up where he left off in July.
Kershaw held the Angeles to two hits and collected seven strikeouts over eight innings. He extended his scoreless streak to 37 consecutive innings and improved to 9-6 on the season. His 2.37 ERA ranks eight in the Majors, and he leads with 2.13 FIP, 1.91 xFIP and 185 strikeouts.
Kershaw became the first pitcher with multiple single-season scoreless streaks of at least 37 innings since Luis Tiant, who accomplished the feat in 1968 and 1972. He’s also on pace to finish just shy of 300 strikeouts, but could become the first pitchers to finish with at least that many in a season since Randy Johnson (334) and Curt Schilling (316), who both did it in 2002.
One negative takeaway for the three-time Cy Young Award winner is his seven strikeouts snapped a stretch of three consecutive starts where he reached double digits and as a result dropped his strikeouts per nine innings to 11.76.