LOS ANGELES -- As Clayton Kershaw walked back to the mound for the seventh inning, manager Dave Roberts stood in the Dodgers' dugout thinking through scenarios for his ace.Through six innings in the Dodgers' 4-3 win over the D-backs, Kershaw held Arizona hitless, with his pitch count nearing 100. After
LOS ANGELES -- As Clayton Kershaw walked back to the mound for the seventh inning, manager Dave Roberts stood in the Dodgers' dugout thinking through scenarios for his ace.
Through six innings in the Dodgers' 4-3 win over the D-backs, Kershaw held Arizona hitless, with his pitch count nearing 100. After Kershaw struck out Paul Goldschmidt, Chris Owings helped make the decision for Roberts with a one-out single.
"Honestly, I was thinking, get two guys out and get a flare or something," Roberts quipped. "But you always the want best for the player and I'm a fan just like everyone is, but I think that reality setting in and thinking what's best for Clayton and best for the Dodgers, to think about him getting to 130 pitches doesn't make sense for anyone. After the infield hit, I know there was a little sigh of relief from me."
Kershaw added: "I think I made Doc's [Dave Roberts] job a little bit easier. Giving up a hit, so I think that he didn't have to worry about keeping me in or not."
Roberts left Kershaw in to finish out the seventh, as the Dodgers' ace got Daniel Descalso to ground out end the inning, and the southpaw closed his night tossing seven scoreless, fanning 11, giving up only two hits and earning his Major League-leading 13th win.
"I kept looking at the scoreboard and kept seeing zero in the hits column," Roberts said. "Obviously my thoughts get kind of thinking to the seventh, eighth and ninth. But, the pitch count was starting to escalate and creep up, so then you're trying to do the math and figure out if it's even possible. But with Clayton Kershaw, I think anything can happen."
Kershaw hasn't lost in his last 12 starts, going 9-0 with a 1.98 ERA. The three-time Cy Young Award winner also hasn't allowed an earned run since his June 19 start against the Mets when he gave up a career-high four home runs. Since then, he has 31 strikeouts against five walks in his last three starts.
"I don't think it's beyond expectations," Roberts said about Kershaw's recent three games. "I think we've talked about this a few weeks ago, where Clayton has been very successful and very dominant with not having his best arsenal. But I do believe the last few starts, he's sort of where we expected him."
Joshua Thornton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.