The Los Angeles Dodgers got their ace back Friday night, and for the first time all season that’s what they truly needed Clayton Kershaw to be.
Not surprisingly, Kershaw answered the call.
With the Dodgers on a season-high five-game losing streak, the Hall of Fame bound left-hander returned to the hill for the first time since July 23 and pitched six scoreless innings in the Dodgers 1-0 win against the Padres.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 2, 2017
It was like he never missed a beat despite battling a back ailment that many were concerned could ruin his season.
Kershaw carved through San Diego’s lineup allowing just a pair of infield singles and nothing else. In fact, San Diego would never hit a ball to a Dodgers outfielder for the entire game, including against relievers Brandon Morrow, Tony Watson and Kenley Jansen.
As you can see from the final score, the Dodgers needed all of those zeros from Kershaw and the bullpen to get the win. Padres rookie starter Dinelson Lamet was every bit as good, allowing one run on six hits while striking out 10, and so was the Padres bullpen.
It’s the type of game Kershaw thrives on. Over the last two seasons the Dodgers have scored exactly one run for Kershaw five times, and they’ve gone on to win four of those games. That he was able to turn in that type of effort here though just highlights how important he is, and why the Dodgers need him at full strength. Not that anyone was questioning either point.
Overall, Los Angeles has now won each of Kershaw’s last 16 starts. He has a personal 12-game winning streak during that stretch, a 1.70 ERA, and 131 strikeouts over 106 innings.
This is what brilliance looks like, folks. Admire it. Embrace it even if you’re not a Dodgers fan. But above all just hope his back problems are kept at bay for the foreseeable future.
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