He's got 10 of them this year in 11 decisions after Wednesday's 3-2 Dodgers win over the D-backs at Chase Field. That gives Kershaw double-digit wins in seven consecutive seasons, reaching the milestone earlier this season than ever, and he gave a pretty good analysis of the virtues of that old-school statistic.
"There is something to being able to win games," Kershaw said. "I talked about Zack Greinke the other day. He started off slow here, but he has nine wins. He just always knows how to win, and there are starters out there that find ways to win, and there are starters out there, too, that find ways to lose games. I don't know if you can necessarily go by your record, but you know when guys take the mound that have the aptitude to win the game, and I think guys know how to do that better than others at times."
In the fifth, Kershaw had a questionable walk on a 3-2 pitch to Yasmany Tomas called a ball by plate umpire Sam Holbrook that even Tomas appeared to think was a strike. Kershaw has seven walks in 108 innings and he leads MLB with a 1.58 ERA, 133 strikeouts and three shutouts (the entire American League has four). He's unbeaten in his past nine starts since May 1, going 8-0. The Dodgers are 13-1 in his starts.
"When I look at the numbers … in that context, it kind of baffles you and is kind of cartoonish," manager Dave Roberts said. "Clayton saw that we needed to win the series and came with that usual intensity and intent. Clayton was Clayton. For us to get him that win was not only good for him, but great for us."
Kershaw allowed a solo home run to Rickie Weeks Jr. in the second inning, a blistering RBI single off the top of the left-field wall in the sixth by Paul Goldschmidt and was removed at 104 pitches after striking out Michael Bourn leading off the eighth inning.
"It doesn't ever seem like the right decision to go take the ball from Clayton," Roberts said. "But there was a little bit of stress, coming back on regular rest, but a day game is a little shorter, and 104 pitches, I felt it was good to go to Joe [Blanton] to get the two righties [Brandon Drury and Goldschmidt], and Kenley [Jansen] was Kenley [for the save]."
Kershaw and the Dodgers got the win on a three-run homer by Scott Van Slyke in the sixth inning after two-out singles by the slumping Adrian Gonzalez and Howie Kendrick.