Kershaw ties Koufax on Dodgers' wins list

'Any time you're mentioned with Sandy is a special thing for sure'

August 15th, 2019

MIAMI -- Working on seven days' rest, put together one of his strongest outings of the season in the Dodgers’ 9-1 win over the Marlins on Wednesday at Marlins Park.

Kershaw matched season bests with 10 strikeouts over seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball. He had a perfect game until Harold Ramirez's two-out single in the fifth.

The three-time National League Cy Young Award winner improved to 12-2 with a 2.63 ERA in 21 starts this season, which he began on the injured list with left shoulder inflammation. Given the Dodgers' big plans in 2019, they pushed him back from pitching Tuesday's series opener to allow him extra rest.

"I had a mini All-Star break, basically," said Kershaw, who has gone at least six innings in each outing this season. "It's not ideal. Obviously, I think more than anything, you just want to be able to stay in that rhythm. One [extra] day, every once in a while. Obviously, you have to understand the bigger picture here of what we're trying to do. It's set up better for everybody. Just roll with it and go on."

And go on Kershaw did, nearly into the Major League record books.

When Lewis Brinson grounded out to short on an 0-2 pitch in the third inning, Kershaw snapped a string of seven straight strikeouts to open the game, one shy of matching the MLB record by Astros lefty Jim Deshaies (1986) and Mets righty Jacob deGrom (2014). According to Elias Sports Bureau, Kershaw set the modern era (since 1900) Dodgers record, surpassing the previous mark held by Andy Messersmith (six in ‘73).

"That first time through, he was rolling pretty good," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Actually, all the way through. He had eight out of first nine [strikeouts]. Giving a guy like that three early, give him a lead, he kind of slams that door on you."

The veteran lefty recorded seven of his 10 strikeouts on his slider. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts called Kershaw's command as good as he has seen with all his pitches, especially his fastball.

Roberts elected to end Kershaw’s outing after 90 pitches (66 strikes), despite the Marlins being unable to get a player into scoring position against Kershaw, who avoided stressful innings.

"Early on, just spotting the fastball up and going to the curveball early, and then had the shape and the depth that we like to see," Roberts said. "And then the slider. When you have that mix early ... it was really encouraging. You knew something special was brewing."

That mix has allowed Kershaw to regain his strikeout form. Since June 13, he has fanned 82 batters in 71 frames (10.4 K/9). Prior to that, Kershaw notched eight strikeouts per nine innings.

Though Kershaw didn’t match an MLB record, he did tie Sandy Koufax for fifth on the franchise's all-time wins list with 165.

"I've said it before, but any time you're mentioned with Sandy is a special thing for sure," Kershaw said.