CHICAGO — They call Wrigley Field ‘The Friendly Confines’. Clayton Kershaw never liked it that way.
Entering Saturday’s doubleheader, Kershaw’s career ERA at Wrigley Field was 4.74 in four regular season starts and his highest score for any clubs he’d started more than once and it’s one of only two stadiums where he’s lost a losing streak. has a record.
But he made it easy on himself in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday-afternoon, holding the Chicago Cubs scoreless for the first seven innings of a 7-0 victory by the Dodgers.
New. Not really,” Kershaw said when asked if he was hanging out with Wrigley Field more now. “But it worked today.”
Tyler Anderson starts the second game against Cubs lefthander Daniel Norris.
Kershaw got through his day in the Windy City pretty smoothly. He needed only 66 pitches to get through the first six innings, got an assortment of early count-outs and struckout only two.
“I’ve always been the kind of guy who gets a few first-pitch outs when things go right,” Kershaw said. “I do throw strikes I think for the most part, and guys try to attack me early. I throw a lot of first-pitch fastballs, so sometimes you get some early outs that way. Can get some first-pitch hits here and there But in general I think it’s better to be aggressive and sometimes they shoot at guys.”
The Cubs didn’t even get a runner past first base in the first six innings – and they could blame themselves.
Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki walked with one out in the first inning, then was eliminated at first base by Kershaw to end the inning. Suzuki also reached on a single in the fourth and was cleared when Yan Gomes bounced into a double play.
But Nico Hoerner was guilty of the most Cub-alicious baserunning error of the day.
With two outs in the second, Hoerner chopped a ground ball to shortstop Trea Turner. Turner attacked and tried to play barehanded, but his pitch went down the line and passed Freddie Freeman on first base.
Hoerner nonchalantly turned and began to trot to second base, assuming the ball was out of play. That was not the case. The ball had bounced off the wall for the photo, well near the Dodgers’ dugout. Freeman got it back and threw to second baseman Gavin Lux who tagged out Hoerner to end the inning.
Saturday marked the 63rd time in his career that Kershaw has started at least seven scoreless innings, the second time in five starts this season. His ERA this year is 1.80 with a 0.73 WHIP, the lowest among National League starters.
“He just has a good sense of pitch,” Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes said of Kershaw’s start. “He knows how to navigate a lineup pretty well. He feels the game out. What makes him so good – his gear is obviously very good, but his sense of pitching is really good. So he has the ability to be repeatable and to feel what the batter is trying to do.”
Barnes and Freeman led the Dodgers’ attack. Freeman became the first Dodgers player to have three doubles in a game at Wrigley Field. Barnes drove in three runs with a solo home run and a single with two runs. He has three homeruns and five RBI’s in just eight games this year.
“I’ve been doing the sporadic ABs for a few years now,” Barnes said. “In between you should not think too much. You have to look at it a bit from day to day. Sometimes you get in there and go too fast. I just tried to slow it down today, set up some easy swings and it worked. †
Still mired in a 2-for-20 slump that has dragged his average to 0.184, Justin Turner drove in two runs with a double on Cubs reliever Robert Gsellman who left his bat at 107.7 mph, his hardest hit this season .