The clock struck 7:10 p.m. PT on Wednesday night, and Clayton Kershaw was ready to deliver the first pitch at Dodger Stadium. Just like he’s done countless times throughout his career. But there was a delay in the series finale against the Colorado Rockies.
Kershaw appeared frustrated with leadoff hitter Charlie Blackmon, who stepped in, and immediately out of the batter’s box. But it was then brought to Kershaw’s attention that Rockies starter Tyler Anderson was still making his way from the bullpen to the dugout.
His pregame bullpen ran late. Kershaw stepped off the mound while he waited for Anderson to complete his trek. The Rockies left-hander walked at a leisurely pace.
“That was one of the more disrespectful things I’ve been a part of in a game,” Kershaw said after the Dodgers’ 4-2 win. “I really didn’t appreciate that. The game starts at 7:10, it’s started at 7:10 here for a really long time. Just go around, or finish earlier. That wasn’t appreciated.”
Kershaw stopped himself there, in effort to avoid a potential fine. The first three Rockies hitters of the game reached, loading the bases with nobody out. However, they only managed one run out of the stress placed on Kershaw.
“Overall, I was probably overthrowing in that first inning,” he said. “Maybe hopped up a little bit. I was overthrowing my slider and leaving some pitches up.” While the pregame delay is a natural explanation for the additional adrenaline, Kershaw said that was not factor.
“I had Blackmon down 0-2 right away. I just couldn’t finish him off,” he explained.
Anderson, in his first full Major League season, said he did not intend for the late walk to be disrespectful. Anderson added he was surprised the umpire did not allow the game to begin.
Kershaw overcame the 27-pitch first inning to turn in seven innings of two-run ball. He struck out 10 and walked just one. That’s not to suggest it was all smooth sailing, however.
“There were a couple innings in a row where he had a rhythm, but he couldn’t really find his rhythm,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “But it’s a credit to him to still go out there and punch 10, walk one, and give us seven quality innings. He does what he does. Clayton pitched a heck of a ballgame”
Kershaw improved to 10-0 with a 0.65 ERA, 96 strikeouts and six walks in his past 11 starts at Dodger Stadium. Overall in his career, Kershaw is now 86-0 when he receives four-plus runs of support.