Kershaw maturing on fly for Dodgers

Kershaw maturing on fly for Dodgers

DENVER -- Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who's trying to get the three-game series sweep on Wednesday against the Rockies, has to cope with the inconsistencies of being a young pitcher.

"He's 21 years old," manager Joe Torre said. "I know I was barely feeding myself at 21 years old. I keep saying you get impatient watching him throw ball one, ball two, and then you realize how old he is."

In six of his nine starts this year, Kershaw has allowed one earned run or less (1.25 ERA). The Dodgers are 4-2 in those starts.

In his other three starts, Kershaw has compiled a 12.21 ERA, and the Dodgers are winless. One of those starts was against the Rockies at Coors Field on April 26. Kershaw gave up a season-high nine earned runs in 4 2/3 innings.

Kershaw said when he has struggled, it's due to a lack of throwing strikes. Torre added that Kershaw needs to know he doesn't have to throw the ball hard every time.

"When the manager talks to you, it's like the principal's office," Torre said. "You don't want to have to go through that all the time. But we have a couple of pitching coaches that spend a lot of time with that."

After Kershaw's May 12 start against the Phillies, in which he allowed four runs in five innings, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt worked with Kershaw on foot placement on the pitching rubber and his grip on his breaking ball. In his next start at Florida, Kershaw took a no-hitter into the eighth.

"Adjustments is what baseball is," Kershaw said. "The people that make adjustments faster are the good pitchers or the good hitters. They are the ones that are able to stick around a long time."

Pitching matchup
LAD: LHP Clayton Kershaw (2-3, 4.32 ERA)
After flirting with a no-hitter and pitching into the eighth inning in his previous start, Kershaw reverted to scuffling against the Angels his last time out, allowing only one run but walking four in five innings. Kershaw's final line would've been worse had he not pitched out of four jams -- the only run he allowed scored on an infield single.

COL: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (3-5, 4.25 ERA)
Jimenez was solid, but not spectacular in his last start, a 4-3 loss at Detroit. He was hurt when catcher Chris Iannetta couldn't control a low breaking ball and a run scored. Jimenez has been consistently in the mid-to-upper 90s with his fastball. In his lone start against the Dodgers this season, he gave up eight hits and six runs in four innings. In his career, he is 4-2 with a 7.07 ERA in nine games, eight starts, against the Dodgers.

Tidbits
After hitting cleanup and going 7-for-16 the past three games, third baseman Casey Blake will be out of the lineup Wednesday to rest. His three RBIs on Tuesday gave him 32 this season, tied for the team lead with first baseman James Loney. ... Second baseman Orlando Hudson extended his hitting streak to 16 games, the longest by a Dodger this season, with two singles on Tuesday. Hudson is hitting .377 (26-for-69) during the streak. ... The Dodgers are 7-1 this season against the Rockies and 4-1 at Coors Field.

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Up next
• Thursday: Dodgers (Randy Wolf, 2-1, 3.02) at Cubs (Randy Wells, 0-1, 1.50), 5:05 p.m. PT
• Friday: Dodgers (Chad Billingsley, 6-2, 2.82) at Cubs (Ted Lilly, 5-4, 3.77), 11:20 a.m. PT
• Saturday: Dodgers (TBD) at Cubs (Ryan Dempster, 3-3, 4.99), 1:10 p.m. PT

Cheng Sio is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.