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Good side of Clayton Kershaw's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde bit works well enough in Dodgers' 4-3 victory

May 30, 2010 |  3:24 pm


Here's a little secret about Clayton Kershaw:

He's two completely different pitchers.

The guy who starts the game, and the one after that. If you're an opposing team, you had better tag the guy who starts it off.

Otherwise, you have next to zero chance.

Kershaw in the first two innings is Clark Kent. After that he wears a giant 'S' on his chest and looks dashing in a red cape.

The first two innings of a game Kershaw is just another bloke. After that, all those Sandy Koufax comparisons look dead on.

Kershaw has a fat 6.75 ERA in the first two innings of his 11 starts this season. He has a 1.06 ERA in every inning after the second.

The Rockies tried to get after the bad Kershaw on Sunday, scoring a pair of runs in the first inning but never mustered another threat as the Dodgers rallied for a 4-3 victory.

In the first inning, Kershaw looked like somebody worried about a ticket back to the minors. He hit his first batter. Then wild pitched him to second. Walked another batter. Gave up a pair of run-scoring singles, though one was lost in the afternoon sun by Blake DeWitt.

And was pretty much untouchable after that.

The one good thing the Rockies did with their prolonged first innings was push Kershaw's pitch count up.

Kershaw (5-3) lasted only five innings, but in his short start, struck out nine. He gave up four hits and four walks. He threw 97 pitches, 60 for strikes.

This bad-early Kershaw, good-afterward Kershaw is a fairly recent phenomenon. Coming into this season, he had 3.54 ERA through the first three innings of a game, 2.99 in the three middle innings, and a 2.84 in the final three innings.

Maybe the Dodgers should make him throw an inning in the bullpen before he starts a game. If he can learn to find a groove earlier, then how good will he be?

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw works against the Rockies on Sunday in Colorado. Credit: Ed Andrieski / Associated Press