Torre impressed with Kershaw's development

Torre impressed with Kershaw's development

SAN FRANCISCO -- Dodgers manager Joe Torre was asked if Clayton Kershaw's first career shutout Tuesday night was the highlight of the Dodgers' season.

"We haven't had too many," he said. "To me, that's the best game he's pitched since I've watched him pitch."

Torre said when Kershaw came in from pregame warmups in the bullpen, "he looked like he was on a mission, like a caged animal.

"For 22, he really has a lot going for him besides his age. You keep your fingers crossed that he stays healthy. When he arrived, we were all in awe at how hard he threw [and in awe of] the curveball. But that's taken a back seat to his pitching. Right now, he's a pitcher as opposed to throwing 96 [mph]. It's 91 to 93 but he knows where it's going."

Kershaw is tied for second in the league with 201 strikeouts, is fourth with a .217 opponents batting average and is tied for ninth with a 2.85 ERA.

He's also tied with Chad Billingsley (2008) for most strikeouts in a season by a Dodgers pitcher since Chan Ho Park had 218 in 2001.

As a staff, the Dodgers have 16 shutouts, the most since getting 17 in 2003. They have four pitchers (Kershaw, Billingsley, Vicente Padilla and Ted Lilly) with one shutout each this season. The last time at least four Dodgers did that in the same season was 1998.