“It just feels good to win!”
That’s how Clayton Kershaw responded when asked about his reaction to throwing his 13th career complete game shutout with a pitch count of 101 (a complete game shutout in which the pitcher throws less than 100 pitches is referred to as a Maddux, whose namesake, Greg, “The Professor” and current Dodgers consultant did 14 time in his career — 2/3 of the total amount of times it’s been done since 1973). He also struck out 14 of the opposing batters (speaking further to the efficiency of his performance since high-strikeout totals typically equal high pitch counts) while walking none, and drove in the only run of the game.
The last time a Dodger pitcher won a game in which he drove in the only run was Fernando Valenzuela in 1984.
Just to add to the list of accolades, Kershaw’s performance marked the 10th time in the last three seasons to date that he’s struck out at least 10 batters and walked zero; Max Scherzer is second on the list in that time period with 6.
Unfortunately, that response was probably excruciatingly genuine and not just the modesty of a high-character pro. Kershaw essentially singlehandedly prevented the Dodgers from losing seven straight games with his performance on Sunday and put an end to the team’s longest home losing streak in 5 years. The team was so happy to break the streak they celebrated in the clubhouse by doing the “Running Man Challenge” with hilarious results.
Kershaw didn’t give up his first hit until the 5th inning when Alexei Ramirez squeaked one down the right field line. Perhaps angry that Kersh’s no-no had been broken up, Yasiel Puig showed off his cannon by gunning Ramirez down trying to take second with a perfect strike we’ve come to anticipate every time Puig picks up the rock and hurls it.
Less impressive, of course — and a now nagging annoyance — is the Dodger’s impotent offense of late, exploited yet again on this beautiful Chavez Ravine afternoon as the Dodgers merely matched the paltry three hits allowed by Kershaw. They’ll need to turn the offensive production up more than a few notches as they begin two interleague series, first in Tampa Bay and later against the Murderer’s Row of Toronto.
Gerry Schwartzmeyer is a featured author at Around the Horn Talk, an official affiliate of MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @pgeradactyl.