Clayton Kershaw offers some advice on how to pitch to Mike Trout after giving up a homer to the Angels slugger on Friday
In the top of the third inning at Dodger Stadium, with the Dodgers leading the Los Angeles Angels 1-0, Trout connected with a curveball from the Dodgers left-hander on the eighth pitch of the at-bat for a 407-foot home run. The three-run homer brought home Luis Rengifo and David Fletcher, giving the Angels a 3-1 lead that would not last. The Dodgers went on to win the game 9-5, with Kershaw giving up four runs (one earned) on eight hits in four innings.
Kershaw wasn’t satisfied with either his performance or the pitch to Trout. When asked how he pitched to Trout, he gave a blunt and frank response. “Not throwing a curveball down the middle,” he said.
“It was a bad night. Nothing was great. But thankful it’s now and not later. I’m probably not going to think about this one too much.”
Trout, playing his entire career just 30 miles down I-5 from Kershaw, had never enjoyed much success off his crosstown neighbor. He had been 0-15 against Kershaw since 2014 before Friday’s home run and is now 3-18 for his career; it was the first home run he had ever hit against Kershaw. Trout hadn’t hit a home run in 12 consecutive games dating back to Sept. 10.
Trout is only the second player to hit a home run off Kershaw’s curveball this season. The Dodgers’ three-time Cy Young Award winner, despite what he might feel about his performance, has been solid all season. Kershaw finishes the year with a record of 6-2 and a 2.16 ERA. He has his lowest ERA and WHIP since 2016. Opponents are hitting just .194 against him this season. Friday’s outing was his seventh time in 10 starts allowing one or fewer earned runs.
And he’s headed to the playoffs for the eighth straight season. The Angels, meanwhile, were officially eliminated on Friday, meaning Trout is going home for the sixth straight year. He may have hit a home run against Kershaw, but in terms of team success, it’s the left-hander who has all the bragging rights.