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Cardinals at Dodgers, 1:10 p.m.
Kershaw CXCIV: Kershawl Miner’s Daughter
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, LF
Andre Ethier, CF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Miguel Rojas, SS
Clayton Kershaw, P

By Jon Weisman

When we last left Clayton Kershaw, he was beyond comprehension, with a 0.97 ERA in June, a 1.26 ERA in his past 50 innings and a 1.84 ERA in nearly 400 innings since July 2012.

The Dodgers public relations department notes that with his current 21-inning scoreless streak, Kershaw is already within range of the top 10 streaks in Los Angeles Dodger history:

59 Orel Hershiser, 1988
58 Don Drysdale, 1968
35 Don Sutton, 1972
33 Sandy Koufax, 1963
27 Don Sutton, 1969
26 Don Drysdale, 1960
26 Sandy Koufax, 1963
25 Wilson Alvarez, 2003
25 Andy Messersmith, 1975
25 Fernando Valenzuela, 1985
25 Don Drysdale, 1967

Kershaw is also aiming for the first six-win month by a Dodger starting pitcher since Hideo Nomo in 1995. If he gets that, he would have nine wins and put the Dodgers on track for a rare trifecta, Dodgers PR notes.

In the past decade since 2004, the Dodgers have had only three pitchers with double-digit wins at the All-Star break (last: Brad Penny, 10-1, 2007) and the club has a chance to match that total in a single season with Zack Greinke (10-4), Clayton Kershaw (8-2), and Hyun-Jin Ryu (9-4), all closing in on 10 victories. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last MLB team with three or more 10+-game winners at the All-Star break was the 2010 Yankees (Hughes-11, Pettitte-11, Sabathia-12) and the last Dodger team was the 1977 club with four; Tommy John (10), Doug Rau (11), Rick Rhoden (10) and Don Sutton (10).

Eric Stephen has more on Kershaw at True Blue L.A., including this about the pitcher who has 48 strikeouts and two walks in June:

The last Dodgers pitcher with 50 strikeouts in a month was Chan Ho Park, with 51 strikeouts in September 2000. The last with 60 strikeouts was Nomo in June 1995.

There have only been three pitchers since 1914 with at least 50 strikeouts and no more than two walks in a month: Cliff Lee (54 strikeouts, one walk in September 2013), Curt Schilling (62 strikeouts, two walks in May 2002) and Pedro Martinez (51 strikeouts, two walks in August 2000).

Kershaw currently has a 0.97 ERA for the month. To keep that for June he would either need to not allow an earned run or pitch at least 8⅓ innings while allowing no more than one earned run. Since 1914 there have been 20 Dodgers pitching months of at least 40 innings and an ERA under 1.00, the last by Orel Hershiser in September 1988, holding the top spot with 55 scoreless innings in the season’s final month.

But to succeed on any or all of these fronts, Kershaw must continue the Dodgers’ process of avenging the 2013 National League Championship Series finale.

A couple more notes before today’s game …

  • “Los Angeles has not committed an error in nine consecutive games since June 20, the longest run for a Dodger team since a nine-game errorless streak from June 9-18, 2004. An errorless game today would give the Dodgers just their second double-digit game errorless streak since moving to Los Angeles, behind only an 11-game run from May 5-16, 1979.” – Dodgers PR, which adds that Los Angeles has the fewest errors in MLB since May 25.
  • “The Dodgers have hit only two homers over their past 10 games and five in their past 13, all of them solo shots.” – AP