ANAHEIM – Before the opener of the Freeway Series, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts joked that he was hoping to get a call on Friday from Braves manager Brian Snitker, letting him know that Clayton Kershaw was going to be the starter for the National League on Tuesday’s All-Star Game.
Kershaw, of course, has never started a Midsummer Classic. It’s one of the few things missing in his illustrious career. By the end of the night, though, Kershaw had the 44,648 people in attendance at Angel Stadium believing he was going to accomplish another first.
Kershaw flirted with a perfect game for the second time this season, but his bid at another historic milestone fell six outs short on a Luis Rengifo leadoff double in the eighth inning of the Dodgers ’9-1 win over the Angels on Friday.
It was the second time this season Kershaw completed seven perfect innings. The last one came in his first start of the season against the Twins when he wasn’t fully built up. Kershaw became the only pitcher in the last 40 years to have a perfect game through at least seven innings twice in the same season.
Kershaw was as efficient as he was all season on Friday, needing just 59 pitches to get through six innings. Only Brandon Marsh managed to get into a three-ball count, but Kershaw ultimately won the battle with a strikeout to end the third.
In the seventh, Kershaw got the crowd on his feet by striking out reigning American League MVP Shohei Ohtani swinging on his signature curveball. With every out, the buzz around the ballpark grew. As they usually do, Dodger fans were well represented in Anaheim.
At one point, however, even the Angels fans realized they were witnessing one of the best pitchers of all time trying to accomplish something only 23 other Major Leaguers have done. Kershaw just fell a little short.