What can you even say about Clayton Kershaw at this point? Dominant? Absurd, unhitable, unbelievable, The Best? We’ve heard all of that before. We’ll hear all of that again. But here we are, after another gem of a start, trying to process how amazing Clayton Kershaw has been lately.
Kershaw entered tonight’s 9-0 victory with 28 consecutive scoreless innings. He left tonight’s start with 36 consecutive scoreless innings. He struck out eight batters and walked one. The eight strikeouts occurred on four curveballs (even though the break appeared to less than usual because of the altitude), three sliders, and one fastball. He allowed two hits: an innocent ground ball single through the left side of the infield and another through the right side later in the game. We were that close to talking about another no hitter against the same (admittedly poor) Rockies team, less than three weeks later. After tonight’s performance, Kershaw’s ERA is down to 1.85. His FIP remained steady at 1.48.
Oh, and he had two hits, too.
As much as I hate preserving the awful hats the Dodgers were wearing for people to see in the future, I feel obligated to share this GIF of Juan Uribe helping Kershaw:
With Kershaw on the mound, Jair Jurrjens had an impossible assignment in his first major-league game of the year. The Dodgers have a reputation of not hitting struggling pitchers very well, which might have helped him. However, the Dodgers did their best to shake that reputation tonight. The damage started right away as the Dodgers “hit for the cycle” in the first inning. Dee Gordon singled, Yasiel Puig hit his first home run since May 28th into the fountains in straight-away center, Hanley Ramirez doubled, then Andre Ethier hit a two out triple into the gap in left-center.
The Dodger offense remained quiet against Jurrjens until the fifth inning, when they blew the game open. Gordon hit yet another infield single (he finished the game with three) and stole his 41st base. Ramirez was hit by a pitch (more on that in a second), then Scott Van Slyke hit a three run homer to deep left field, driving the score up to 6-0. Rockies manager Walt Weiss tried to get Jurrjens through the fifth inning to avoid using an extra reliever, but after a walk and three consecutive singles (which led to two more runs), Jurrjens was pulled. He struck out three batters, walked one, and allowed eight runs. Every Dodger starter (including Kershaw) had a hit against him.
Hanley Ramirez was hit by a pitch during the fifth inning rally, as mentioned above. The ball appeared to hit him on the back of his left hand, similar to when he was hit on the hand by a Ryan Vogelsong pitch earlier this season. He was replaced by Erisbel Arruebarrena after the inning was over, but the Dodgers say that the substitution was for “precautionary reasons.”
Tomorrow afternoon, the Dodgers will try for their third consecutive win against the Rockies behind Dan Haren. A homer-prone Dan Haren in Coors Field is a pretty terrifying thought, but the offense will try to make up for it against the struggling Jorge De La Rosa.