Clayton Kershaw spotted the rest of baseball five weeks while he recovered from a muscle strain earlier this season. That didn’t prevent him from being the first pitcher in 2014 to win 16 games. He has done it in dominating fashion for most of the year.
The only real mark against Kershaw’s season came on May 17 when he gave up seven runs to the same Arizona Diamondbacks team he would face Wednesday. There would be no such outburst from Arizona — even though they had their opportunities — as Kershaw managed eight innings to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 3-1 win.
Arizona has been a tough place for Kershaw to pitch in his career with a 4.10 ERA in nine previous starts at Chase Field. The home team had 12 plate appearances with runners in scoring position but managed only two hits and scored only one run in the process.
Kershaw now owns a 1.73 ERA leading all of major league baseball and with 194 strikeouts is only eight short of Stephen Strasburg who leads the the National League with 202.
The run came across when Jordan Pacheco floated a single that landed just in front of Yasiel Puig in center field. The ball deflected off Puig’s glove to Scott Van Slyke allowing Alfredo Marte to score from second. Van Slyke was injured on the play, leaving with a mild right ankle sprain and is considered day-to-day.
Before the injury, Van Slyke had continued his success against Arizona starter Wade Miley in a three-run third for the Dodgers. After the first two batters of the inning reached, Matt Kemp muscled a two-run double into the gap in right-center. Kemp would be thrown out trying to stretch it to a triple.
Van Slyke followed with a solo shot to left for his fifth career homer off Miley and improving to 8-for-18 (.444) in 21 plate appearances against the lefty. The offense would be more than enough to hold up for Kershaw.
Ender Inciarte had three hits against Kershaw on the night becoming only the third hitter to accomplish that this season (Matt Carpenter, Jayson Werth). Inciarte would be left on base all three times, including after he tripled to leadoff the fifth.
It was only the fourth time in 2014 that Kershaw had allowed a runner to reach third base with nobody out. Three of the four didn’t score with Inciarte becoming the latest on that list.
WP: Clayton Kershaw (16-3, 1.73)
LP: Wade Miley (7-10, 4.30)
S: Kenley Jansen (38)