There is a reasonable case to be made that May 23 is the best date of Clayton Kershaw’s career. I think there is one date later in the calendar that is more prolific than this, but it’s hard to argue with four dominant starts in which the Dodgers’ ace allowed a total of two runs.
The first of these games was in 2011 in Houston, back when the Astros were still in the National League. That was a 106-loss Astros team, the first of three consecutive execrable tanking years for Houston. Kershaw, accordingly, only allowed a single run.
But his night was relatively brief, ending after six innings, but more due to circumstance than his performance. From my game recap:
Mattingly faced a tough decision with two outs in the top of the seventh inning. The game was tied at 1-1 and his ace, Kershaw was due up with runners on at first and second base. Kershaw had thrown 84 pitches at this point in the game and had struck out the final two batters he faced in the previous inning. With the Dodgers’ normal, feeble bench, there is a strong argument to be made to keep Kershaw in the game, even though scoring opportunities are so few and far between for this offense. Luckily, the Dodgers…