Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has walked just 15 batters in 16 starts this season, though his command finally faltered on Monday night when he was a guest on "Jimmy Kimmel Live."
In a video that's gone viral, late-night television host Jimmy Kimmel asked Kershaw, the two-time National League Cy Young Award winner, to stand about 15 feet away and throw a baseball at an apple resting atop Kimmel's head.
After missing on his first three attempts, Kershaw connected -- with Kimmel's face.
Granted, it was one of the few times this season the 26-year-old southpaw has so thoroughly missed one of his targets. And in his defense, the apple, by way of Kimmel flinching in pain, did actually fall to the ground as intended.
Regardless, Kershaw (12-2, 1.76 ERA) will get back to business on Thursday when the Dodgers wrap up a three-game series against the Braves at Dodger Stadium.
Kershaw, a Texas native, hasn't lost a start since May 28 -- a 3-2 setback against the Reds -- and has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 9.4 to 1 (141 K's against those 15 walks).
In 10 starts since the loss to Cincinnati, Kershaw is 9-0 with a 0.94 ERA over 77 innings. During that span, he's held opponents to a .151 batting average and a .398 OPS while striking out 95 and walking eight.
The NL West-rival Giants felt the brunt of the ace's dominance during his last start, as Kershaw pitched a three-hit shutout in LA's 5-0 win at AT&T Park.
"Yeah, you do get spoiled, honestly," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "With Clayton and Zack [Greinke], most clubs try to get to them early. If they don't get to them, they end up with low pitch counts and opponents get the full dose. I can't say it's a bad plan, but it's a dangerous one."
Looking to end the Dodgers' five-game winning streak, the Braves will counter with right-hander Julio Teheran (10-6, 2.71 ERA). Teheran has been solid this season, and is 3-1 with a 4.15 ERA in five July starts. He picked up the win in his last outing after allowing three runs on nine hits over six innings, as Atlanta beat the Padres, 5-3.
Teheran added a suicide-squeeze bunt in the fourth inning to drive in the go-ahead run.
"I wanted to get that lead again," said Teheran. "And that's what I concentrated on that pitch, just put the ball in play."
Dodgers: Kemp is rolling
Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp has shrugged off trade rumors while heating up at the plate.
"I've talked about rumors. I'm not talking about any trade right now," Kemp said after hitting two home runs in Tuesday's 8-4 win against Atlanta.
Kemp entered Wednesday batting .397 with a double, a triple and 13 RBIs during his last 17 games and all he did was go 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs, including the game-winner in the 10th inning of 3-2 win.
Mattingly said he's been impressed with Kemp's ability to tune out the trade talk. The non-waiver Trade Deadline is set for Thursday at 4 p.m. ET.
"There are so many rumors nowadays with so much social media and guys basically throwing stuff against the wall, it seems like," Mattingly said. "You've got to be ready to play, keep it simple, and Matt's done a nice job of handling that."
Braves: Heyward remains out
Dealing with ongoing lower back discomfort, outfielder Jason Heyward missed his second game in a row Wednesday. He isn't expected to play in the series finale on Thursday, either, though manager Fredi Gonzalez hinted that the injury isn't considered serious.
Heyward aggravated his back trying to catch a foul ball on July 24.
"I don't see this being a disabled list thing," Gonzalez said. "We haven't even talked about that. I'm going to lay off him a little bit and give his back a chance to calm down."
• Trying to return the big leagues after his second Tommy John surgery, Braves left-hander Jonny Venters has reported no issues with playing long toss and throwing off flat ground this week. However, there isn't a current timetable for his return.
• The Dodgers optioned infielder Darwin Barney to Triple-A Albuquerque on Tuesday and completed their trade with the Cubs by sending Minor League right-handed pitcher Jonathan Martinez to Chicago as the player to be named.
Adam Lewis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.