Clayton Kershaw has had a heck of a month. He tossed a 15-strikeout no-hitter against the Rockies on June 18, and after today’s performance in which he held the Cardinals scoreless over seven innings, he has not allowed a run in his last 28 innings. Aaron Hill drove in the last run Kershaw allowed, doubling off of him in the third inning on June 13.
Kershaw wraps up the month of June with a 0.82 ERA, 61 strikeouts, and four walks in 44 innings. According to Baseball Reference, the only other pitchers to strikeout 60 or more while walking five or fewer in a month are Curt Schilling (62/2, May 2002) and Sandy Koufax (60/5, September/October 1963).
On the season, Kershaw is 9-2 with a 2.04 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and a 107/11 K/BB ratio in 79 1/3 innings. He’s still 26 years old, by the way.
With the Giants suffering a sweep at home at the hands of the Reds and the Dodgers’ Kershaw-aided victory over the Cardinals, the two NL West teams are locked up in a virtual first place tie. As recently as June 8, the Dodgers were 9.5 games out of first place.
After 16 years in the majors, longtime Tigers DH Victor Martinez capped his career with one final start at Comerica Park. Although there are seven games remaining in the club’s regular season schedule, Martinez said he felt he owed it to the fans to record his final at-bat at home. He’ll still cheer the rest of the team on from the dugout when they hit the road for their last six-game stretch on Monday, though he’s not expected to slot into the lineup at any point during their back-to-back away series against the Twins and Brewers.
In order to commemorate the occasion, the Tigers arranged a pregame ceremony to celebrate the veteran infielder’s seven years with the team, during which they presented him with Topps baseball cards, a recliner, a pair of boots, and a saddle, among other honors. Martinez also put in a special request to play first base, a position he hadn’t manned in over two years.
The 39-year-old didn’t waste a single minute of his final start in the majors. He deftly handled an inning-ending out in the top of the first, then laced a rare infield single to short in his first and final at-bat of the afternoon, beating the throw to first and advancing Nicholas Castellanos to second base in order to set up the Tigers’ first run: a two-out RBI single from Niko Goodrum that brought Castellanos home to score.
“I think that at-bat was the perfect at-bat to describe my career,” Martinez told reporters after the Tigers wrapped a 5-4 win over the Royals. “I had to sweat it out. I had to sweat it out the whole way. I had to grind it. That was my whole career.”
Following the hit — and the standing ovation that greeted it — the switch-hitter was promptly replaced by pinch-runner Ronny Rodriguez, who subbed in at second base in the top of the second while Goodrum shifted from second to first base. Taking Saturday’s performance into account, Martinez polished off his big league career with a lifetime .295/.360/.455 batting line, 423 doubles, 246 home runs, 1,178 RBI, and 28.4 fWAR across 1,973 games and three separate stints for the Indians, Red Sox, and Tigers. His accomplishments at the plate have been decorated with five All-Star nominations, two Silver Slugger Awards, and the designated hitter-exclusive Edgar Martinez Award following a career-best campaign in 2014.