Orel Hershiser, you can feel free to pop the champagne.
Clayton Kershaw entered Thursday with a scoreless innings streak at 36. Given he was facing the hapless Padres, he seemed a good bet to extend that into the mid-40s by time the night was over. After getting through 5 2/3 frames without allowing a run, however, Chase Headley took him deep, just clearing the wall in left-center fieldScoreless innings streaks do not include partial innings, so Kershaw’s ended at 41 after surrendering the homer to Headley. It also puts into stark relief just how impressive Hershiser’s 59-inning streak is. As dominant as Kershaw was during this streak, and remember that it includes a no-hitter, he was two complete-game shutouts away from tying Hershiser’s mark. Of course, Kershaw and the Dodgers still won the game 2-1 in Los Angeles, with Kershaw polishing off his second complete game of the season. He has now won eight consecutive starts, with his last loss coming on May 28.
Let’s do a quick audit of Kershaw’s 41 straight scoreless innings. He gave up just 17 hits and five walks while he was streaking, good for a 0.51 WHIP. He struck out 50 batters, and opponents somehow managed to hit .125 against him. When the streak began, the Dodgers trailed the Giants by 7.5 games in the NL West. After Thursday’s win, they now lead the West by a game.
The next fact is perhaps the most amazing. Three baserunners made it all the way to third base, and two of those needed the help of an error to get there. Kershaw went an entire month with one person actually earning his way to third.
After Headley’s home run, Kershaw got started on a new streak, holding the Padres scoreless in the seventh, eighth and ninth. You’re safe, Hershiser. At least for the next six weeks.