Clayton Kershaw entered the season chasing historical past. He lastly caught it within the fourth inning Saturday when he fanned Detroit’s Spencer Torkelson to interrupt Don Sutton’s Dodgers document for profession strikeouts.
Torkelson’s weak swing and miss, Kershaw’s fourth strikeout of the night time, introduced the Dodger Stadium crowd of 52,613 to its toes for an ovation as Kershaw circled the mound, then doffed his cap to the followers, seemingly anxious for the sport to renew.
When it did, Kershaw saved the Tigers in verify till he exited, then they rallied for 4 consecutive runs to snap a six-game dropping streak and spoil the Dodgers’ night time with a 5-1 win.
“Anytime you get to do one thing particular person, record-wise, the folks round you that can assist you have a good time are what issues probably the most,” mentioned Kershaw whose household, cheering within the stands, was proven on the scoreboard celebrating with him. “After which to see the followers care about it as a lot as they did. That was … all these issues make it particular.
“I didn’t know that followers would know, or actually care that a lot. I attempted to type of brush it off and maintain going, however they wouldn’t let me.”
The document got here on a pointy 0-and-2 slider that dove down and in on the right-handed-hitting Torkelson, who reached for it and missed for the primary out of the inning. That moved Kershaw previous Sutton’s complete of two,696 strikeouts set in 1988, the ultimate season of a 23-year profession spent largely with the Dodgers.
Kershaw struck out the aspect within the inning and completed with seven strikeouts in six innings, turning into the twenty sixth pitcher in big-league historical past to achieve 2,700 for a profession. The left-hander then went residence with quite a few memento balls, every from certainly one of Saturday’s record-tying or record-breaking strikeouts.
Two months in the past, it was unsure Kershaw can be pitching for the Dodgers, a lot much less chasing historical past. The three-time Cy Younger Award winner grew to become an unrestricted free agent after final season and didn’t re-sign till early March, when he agreed to a one-year, $17-million contract.
“He’s one of many best Dodgers to ever placed on a Dodger uniform,” supervisor Dave Roberts mentioned. “So it’s type of a no brainer.”
The Dodgers (13-7) gave Kershaw some early help Saturday, with Mookie Betts lining a homer over the wall in lifeless middle within the first. However the Tigers matched that in third when Kershaw — who retired the primary eight Tigers, three on strikeouts to match Sutton’s document — noticed Detroit tie the sport on a two-out double, a stroll and a run-scoring single from Javier Báez.
After giving up a single to start out the fourth, Kershaw struck out three of the subsequent 4 Tigers to cross Sutton and regain management. He then gave strategy to Evan Phillips within the seventh, an inning the right-hander opened by hitting the primary batter and giving up a single to the second. Two outs later Báez doubled within the go-ahead run earlier than a broken-bat single from Austin Meadows drove in two extra.
An infield single and Tucker Barnhart’s RBI double within the eighth accounted for the ultimate rating.
“Not an incredible sport,” Kershaw mentioned. “I want we’d have gained. However it was an incredible second for me personally. And I’ll do not forget that for some time for positive.”
Sutton, a Corridor of Famer who gained 324 video games, nonetheless holds Dodgers data for victories (233), innings pitched (3,8161/3) and shutouts (52), totals that Kershaw, in his fifteenth season with the group, has little probability of matching. However that has much less to do with Kershaw’s brilliance than it does with the best way the sport has modified, with starters throwing fewer pitches and innings.
Sutton averaged greater than 238 innings in 16 seasons with the Dodgers, a quantity Kershaw has by no means reached. And the Dodgers as a group haven’t matched Sutton’s shutout complete since Kershaw entered the majors in 2008.
Strikeouts even have change into extra frequent. In Sutton’s first season in 1966, there have been 18,805 strikeouts. By Kershaw’s rookie season that quantity practically had doubled.
However these numbers don’t inform the entire story, mentioned Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman, who contributed 9 strikeouts to Kershaw’s complete whereas with the Atlanta Braves.
“Whenever you get within the field, you understand how good he’s,” Freeman mentioned. “I’m glad I don’t need to face him anymore. Each pitch means one thing to him. That’s the important thing. He doesn’t throw any non-competitive pitches.”
Or many hittable ones.
Dodgers recalled infielder/outfielder Zach McKinstry and reliever Carson Fulmer and optioned right-hander Andre Jackson to triple A Oklahoma Metropolis earlier than Saturday’s sport. Jackson, who was known as up every week in the past however didn’t pitch for the Dodgers, threw 60 pitches in a four-inning simulated sport Saturday afternoon, going through infielders Edwin Ríos and Hanser Alberto. … The group additionally positioned right-handed pitcher Mitch White on the COVID-19 injured checklist. … Roberts mentioned pitchers Andrew Heaney and Blake Treinen haven’t resumed throwing since being positioned on the IL final month and there’s no timetable for both participant’s return. Heaney was positioned on the IL with left shoulder discomfort on April 20. Treinen was sidelined two days later with ache in his proper shoulder. Whereas sidelined, Treinen went residence to Walla Walla, Wash., the place his spouse, Kati, a junior school basketball coach, gave delivery to a daughter.