A line of beleaguered relievers engulfed Clayton Kershaw as he entered his clubhouse Monday night. Louis Coleman gave him a high-five. J.P. Howell wrapped him in a hug. Kershaw accepted the gratitude, one of the few gifts provided to him by his Dodgers teammates in a 1-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
“It feels good to give them a day off,” Kershaw said after his third shutout this month and the 15th of his career.
For Kershaw, the spectacular long ago became the expected. For Kershaw in 2016, the spectacular has also become essential. These Dodgers (23-23) cannot afford hiccups, and Kershaw loathes experiencing them.