Kershaw's scoreless streak hits 37 innings
Dodgers ace allows two hits over eight frames in shutdown start vs. Angels
LOS ANGELES -- Scratched from starts Wednesday and Friday nights with a sore right hip, Clayton Kershaw finally took the mound Saturday and was his usual, dominating self. He allowed two hits in a 3-1 win over the Angels and added eight scoreless innings to a streak that is now 37 and counting.
About the only thing Kershaw likes to talk about less than how well he pitches is how much he's hurting, so his postgame session was even shorter than normal, even after another Superman performance. He ignored reporters' questions about his health, as if even acknowledging an injury is a sign of weakness.
Was he apprehensive because of the right hip, which apparently is a flareup of a condition he dealt with in 2012?
"This is a good start today," Kershaw said. "I felt good."
Kershaw missed a start against the Giants in 2012 with a right hip impingement. He wouldn't discuss the injury then, and he won't talk about it now. After missing the '12 start, he allowed two runs over the final 21 regular-season innings with a pair of eight-inning starts.
Pitching Saturday on eight days rest, he struck out seven and issued his first walk since July 3, outdueling rookie Andrew Heaney (5-1), who the Dodgers flipped from Miami to the Angels to get Howie Kendrick.
According to Elias, Kershaw is the first pitcher with multiple single-season scoreless streaks of 37 or more innings since Luis Tiant in 1968 and '72. According to ESPN, he's the first pitcher in the modern era with 45 strikeouts in a span of four scoreless starts. In his past 12 starts, he has a 1.09 ERA with 119 strikeouts and 12 walks.
"I felt all right; I don't think I was quite as sharp as usual," Kershaw said. "The Angels did a good job laying off pitches down in the zone. I was fortunate to get to eight [innings] today. I think my fastball command got better as the game went on.
"It's crazy what two or three days off will do. I don't like days off."
At 114 pitches, Kershaw was sent back to the mound to warm up for the ninth inning, but it was merely a successful ploy to get the Angels (whose manager, Mike Scioscia, was ejected in the second inning) to burn an extra pinch-hitter. He left to a standing ovation.
"It was a little awkward for me, because I knew I wasn't pitching, we were just trying to get the matchups we wanted," Kershaw said.
Kershaw is now is 9-6, including four straight wins, and his ERA is 2.37, which would be stunning if it weren't almost a full run higher than the 1.30 of Zack Greinke, whose streak of 45 2/3 scoreless innings can be eclipsed by Kershaw next week.
Greinke's streak ended last week in New York, but while it was going, he didn't want to talk about it. How about Kershaw?
"What did Zack say?" Kershaw asked.
When he was told Greinke didn't like talking about it, Kershaw said, "There you go."