May the 4th be with someone else, as far as Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw is concerned.
Kershaw had the shortest outing of his 361 career starts Tuesday afternoon, lasting just one inning in a 7-1 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The second-shortest outing of his career also came on May 4, the official “Star Wars” holiday for those who celebrate, 11 years ago.
Sometimes you use The Force, and sometimes The Force uses you.
Kershaw did not say anything about being injured, feeling uncomfortable or Jedi mind tricks the Cubs might have pulled in the postgame video news conference. Nor did he dish on what he and manager Dave Roberts discussed in the dugout after the bottom of the first when he was removed.
Just looks like he had a bad day. They happen, even to the preeminent left-hander in Major League Baseball. They’re just usually not so short.
Kershaw allowed four runs, four hits, two walks and a wild pitch to go with two strikeouts over his inning. He got three outs on 39 pitches.
On Tuesday, Kershaw’s first 12 pitches went for strikes, but he still trailed by a run after an RBI single by Anthony Rizzo. The next batter, Javier Baez, drew a walk in an eight pitch at-bat, a particularly ominous moment given Baez came in having drawn one base on balls all season. The Cubs scored again and Kershaw got the Cubs 8-9 batters out to end the inning and his day.
On the other side, Kyle Hendricks set down the Dodgers easily, allowing a run over seven innings. Cosmetically, the performances were reminiscent of Game 6 of the 2016 NLCS, which the Cubs won to reach the World Series. The stakes Tuesday weren’t so high, but Kershaw’s short outing definitely put the Dodgers in a bigger bind with their rotations, considering their recent injuries.