Clayton Kershaw struck out 14 Nationals without issuing a walk

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In a second consecutive start, Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw struck out at least 13 batters and walked none. He ended the first half by striking out 13 Phillies while issuing no walks in a shutout, which was a few days ahead of his late-notice addition to the National League All-Star roster.

Kershaw opened up the second half by striking out 14 Nationals over eight shutout innings on Saturday. And again, he did not issue a walk. He’s the first to strike out 13 and walk none in consecutive starts since Dwight Gooden in 1984, and the two are the only ones to have accomplished the feat since 1914, per FOX Sports. As ESPN Stats & Info notes, Kershaw induced 30 swings and misses on Saturday against the Nationals, the most by any pitcher in the last seven seasons.

Kershaw now has a 2.68 ERA with a 174/27 K/BB ratio in 131 innings. Despite owning a 4.32 ERA in late May, the reigning NL MVP is firmly in the Cy Young conversation. If he were to win, it would be his third in as many seasons.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.