LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw affirmed that his rapport with catcher A.J. Ellis enhances his effectiveness.
Kershaw has recorded a 2.05 ERA in 64 regular-season starts with Ellis, eclipsing the left-hander's overall career ERA of 2.60. Opponents have hit .200 off Kershaw when he works with Ellis, slightly better than his lifetime opponents' average of .211.
"A.J.'s huge," Kershaw said Thursday on a conference call with reporters. "Not only are A.J. and I pretty good buddies off the field, obviously, but on the field I have a lot of trust in him and what he calls. I know he's done probably more homework than anybody, other than [pitching coach Rick] Honeycutt."
Said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, "It seems like they've been friends for a while, and I think that always helps. ... I think all of our pitchers have a great deal of respect for A.J. I know [Cardinals catcher] Yadier [Molina] gets a lot of attention, and he should. But we love our guy."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.