LOS ANGELES – Sometimes life throws curveballs. For Clayton Kershaw, that’s been his claim to fame since making his debut with the Dodgers in 2008.
His curveball has been lethal, and some would even call it the best in the game. Kershaw had been traditionally good against the Padres. He’d won his last four decisions against the Friars and was 8-3 in his career against the them.
However, on Wednesday, neither his curveball could tame the Padres nor anything else. Kershaw was rocked by the Padres as the Dodgers lost their fourth in a row, 7-2, and capped a three-game sweep for San Diego.
Kershaw (25 years, 29 days) became the second youngest Dodger behind Fernando Valenzuela (24 years, 303 days) to reach 1,000 career strikeouts when he got Yonder Alonso swinging for the second out in the top of the second inning.
The Dodgers ace retired eight of the first nine Padres he faced. It appeared to be another Kershaw gem in the making before things went south.
Kershaw entered Wednesday night having allowed just three home runs to the Padres in his career.
He gave up three home runs alone in the series finale on Wednesday night. It was certainly that kind of night.
Everth Cabrera and Kyle Blanks were a combined 2-for-21 against Kershaw with only Cabrera owning an extra base hit. They both went deep.
Chris Denorfia was the only current Padre to have homered against Kershaw (2-2). He left the yard as well.
The Dodgers ace labored through 5.1 innings, giving up seven hits and five runs — three of them earned.
It was just the second time in his career he’d been tagged for three home runs in a game. The only other time was May 2, 2012 at Colorado.
“I really couldn’t throw a breaking ball again,” Kershaw said. “They took advantage of it. “I just wasn’t very good tonight.”
It’s not the type of tone the Dodgers were hoping to set before getting on a red eye and heading for Baltimore to begin a six-game road trip.
Hits with runners on continue to be elusive for the Dodgers. On Wednesday, they left 14 on base and were 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Unfortunately throughout the clubhouse, it’s become common place.
“We still got, what, 10 hits today?” asked a perplexed Adrian Gonzalez, who was 3-for-3 with an RBI and a walk on Wednesday. “Same old story.”
The lack of producing with runners in scoring position can be attributed to a lack of confidence, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly believes.
“If we’re going to make some noise we’re going to need to be the confident club that says ‘Hey we’re never out of a game,’ “ Mattingly said. “Getting down a couple of runs, you want to be sitting there on the bench feeling like ‘two runs, are you kidding me?’
“Right now, I can’t sit here and tell you that you get that feeling on the bench right now.”