Clayton Kershaw wasn’t initially selected as an All-Star for the first time in five seasons, but he still has one more start to make his case for a spot on the team.
He’ll look to snap a five-start winless stretch Wednesday night against the visiting Philadelphia Phillies, whose normally inept offense has found life lately.
Kershaw (5-6, 3.08 ERA) is one of five candidates, along with Johnny Cueto, Jeurys Familia, Carlos Martinez and Troy Tulowitzki, competing in the final vote to join the NL team in next week’s Midsummer Classic.
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He is 0-3 since his last victory despite a 2.41 ERA with the Dodgers (47-38) backing him with nine runs over 33 2-3 innings. Kershaw’s luck may simply be evening out, though, as he amassed a 5.1 run-support average in his previous 12 outings.
Kershaw hasn’t gone six consecutive outings without a win since May 26-June 21, 2013, and his longest drought was 13 from July 24, 2009-April 7, 2010 – a span in which he posted a 2.74 ERA.
He limited the New York Mets to one run over seven innings Friday, but Los Angeles lost 2-1. The left-hander had averaged 8.3 wins prior to the All-Star break over the past six seasons.
"For the most part, Kershaw did his job, but the offense let him down a little bit by not figuring out a way to squeak out a run and get him a decision in that game," outfielder Andre Ethier said. "I think that’s been an unfair thing – kind of the tone of the year every time Kershaw takes the mound. It doesn’t matter who the other guy is on the mound for the other team. He always seems to step up his game."
Kershaw is 2-1 with a 1.73 ERA over his last six meetings with Philadelphia, throwing 14 scoreless innings in two straight wins. Ryan Howard is 2 for 14 with seven strikeouts against him.
If the Phillies are to get to Kershaw, they’d be well advised to do so early – seven of the 12 runs he’s allowed during his winless stretch have come during the first three innings.
For most of the year, Philadelphia (29-57) would have looked incapable of mounting any offense against the three-time Cy Young winner, ranking near the bottom of the majors with 3.5 runs per game. The Phillies are batting .296 while averaging 5.1 runs over their last seven, however, though Tuesday’s 7-2 victory marked just their second win in that stretch.
Jeff Francoeur homered and drove in three runs, while Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis and Odubel Herrera are all hitting .400 or better over the last seven contests. Hernandez has hit safely in 12 straight and is batting a major league-best .444 since June 22.
Los Angeles’ Yasmani Grandal homered for the second straight game and is 9 for 21 with four home runs and 10 RBIs in his last seven games.
Philadelphia left-hander Adam Morgan (1-1, 2.13) makes his third career start after giving up two runs in seven innings in a 2-1 loss at Atlanta on Friday. All three runs against him have come on solo homers, but he’s impressed interim manager Pete Mackanin.
"This is the kind of guy we’re looking for," Mackanin told MLB’s official website. "We need a guy that at 100 pitches can go seven or eight innings. That’s what we want."