MIAMI (AP) — With three Cy Young Awards, an MVP, four NL ERA titles and a no-hitter, there isn’t much Clayton Kershaw hasn’t accomplished with the Los Angeles Dodgers.READ MORE: Parkland Mom Remembers, Honors Memory Of Hero Son, Peter Wang, Who Sacrificed Self To Save Others
There’s one thing he’s yet to do that he wants no part of.
Kershaw has never lost three straight regular-season starts, a fate he’ll try to avoid Saturday in Miami against a struggling Marlins team that might be without baseball’s biggest power threat.
Impressive by almost anyone’s standards, it’s been a relatively rough first three months for Kershaw (5-5, 3.33 ERA) a season after he became the first NL pitcher since Bob Gibson to win both the MVP and Cy Young.
His strikeouts per nine innings (11.79) lead the NL and are on pace to top his career best from last season, and hitters are swinging and missing at 32.0 percent of his pitches – well above anything he’s done up to this point.
But after doing an incredible job of keeping the ball in the park the last two seasons – he gave up an NL-low 0.41 homers per nine – hitters have taken some good swings off Kershaw. He matched last season’s total by allowing his ninth homer June 17 in a 5-3 loss to Texas, then surrendered two more to account for the three runs he gave up over seven innings as the Dodgers (42-33) fell 4-2 at Wrigley Field on Monday.
“It’s always frustrating to lose,” Kershaw told MLB’s official website. “It’s a couple pitches here and there. I wish they were doubles instead of home runs.
“As long as they’re solo shots, it doesn’t matter. Right now, it feels like that’s how I give up runs. If you make a bad pitch, you make a bad pitch. Hopefully they stay in the ballpark.”
Kershaw has lost back-to-back starts eight times over 224 career outings, but he’s responded with a 1.63 ERA – and just 34 hits over 55 1-3 innings – in his next trip to the mound while allowing just one home run.READ MORE: Former BSO Employee Julio Chang Faces Charges In Capitol Attack
That’s about the only way the Marlins (30-45) are plating runs these days. They’ve lost eight of nine after being held to six singles while falling 7-1 Friday, and 10 of their 18 runs in this ugly stretch have come via homer.
Manager Dan Jennings gave a pep talk before his team lost a fifth straight, but a little postgame soothing may have been in order after Giancarlo Stanton felt some pain in his left palm when batting in the ninth Friday. He had an X-ray after the game, the results of which weren’t immediately known.
“On a swing, my bat dug into my hand a little bit and didn’t feel the greatest,” he said. “It got worse and worse.”
Is he worried?
“My concern will be when I know exactly what’s up,” Stanton said.
Seven of the homers Kershaw has surrendered have come on the road, equaling his total from the last two seasons. But the left-hander has won his last four against Miami behind a 1.15 ERA, allowing 13 hits and two homers – one off Stanton’s bat – in 31 1-3 innings.
This game could be missing another power-hitting right fielder if Yasiel Puig sits a fourth straight with a callus on his left hand, but he pinch-hit Friday and could return to face a right-hander who’s been one of baseball’s best pitchers at home.
Tom Koehler (5-4, 3.76) has a 1.52 ERA in seven outings at Marlins Park, most recently limiting the New YorkYankees to a run in seven innings there June 15 before missing his latest start with a stiff neck.
Koehler is 1-2 with a 2.91 ERA in four starts against the Dodgers after allowing a run in six innings at Chavez Ravine in May.MORE NEWS: Florida Fire Rescue Chief Fired For Not Forcing Firefighter Vaccinations
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