With a 3-0 record and 0.82 ERA in his last three starts heading into Friday’s outing against the San Diego Padres, talks of Clayton Kershaw’s demise had finally become nothing more than whispers.
Kershaw added to the stretch of starts with another dominant performance that included him being struck by a line drive in the first inning. After recording two quick outs, including getting Derek Norris swinging, Kershaw’s 1-0 pitch to Justin Upton was lined up the middle, hitting the pitcher on the hip, and leading to an infield single for Upton.
Kershaw shook it off and proceeded to strike out 10 more batters throughout the game, despite struggling with fastball location. He reached 11 strikeouts a second time in as many starts, and now has hit double digits in punch-outs five times this season; his single game high in 2015 is 12 strikeouts against the Colorado Rockies on April 17.
The left-hander held the Padres scoreless going into the seventh inning when he allowed a solo home run to Clint Barmes after collecting his 11th and final strikeout of the game. The Dodgers wound up losing the lead in the inning, but regained the lead in the eighth and hung on for the win.
Although Kershaw didn’t add a win to his personal stat line, he’s now 3-0 with 39 strikeouts over his last four starts, allowing just three earned runs in 28.1 innings pitched, good for a 0.94 ERA. Additionally, Kershaw’s 2.16 xFIP is best among starting pitchers and opponents are slashing .141/.198/.222 over the four-game stretch.