The Los Angeles Dodgers have not resembled the 2017 version of themselves so far this season, getting off to one of their worst starts in franchise history at 5-9.
Luckily, the cure to any losing streak for the Dodgers in the last decade has been Clayton Kershaw starting. He took the mound Sunday afternoon and pitched the Dodgers to a 7-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Despite the Dodgers struggles recently, many players have preached not to panic because of how early it is in the season, with Cody Bellinger and manager Dave Roberts the latest to do so.
While Kershaw agrees that the team shouldn’t panic, he does feel that they can’t rely on still being in the first month of the season. “This ‘too early’ thing doesn’t work if you’re using that in the back of your mind as an excuse,” Kershaw said. “That ‘it’s early, we’ll figure it out’ doesn’t really work.
“You’ve got to figure it out at some point. So for me, I don’t really like that saying. There needs to be a sense of urgency every game out there. But [Roberts] is right, it is early. A lot of time to make up games, we play a lot of games against [the Diamondbacks] especially. Standings, maybe not so important, but the way we play is important. Can’t have any excuses with that.”
Kershaw was definitely pitching with urgency on Sunday afternoon, yielding just two hits and one run in seven innings of work, striking out 12 without allowing a walk.
The win was a big one for the Dodgers, as the Diamondbacks had their number up to that point, winning all five of their matchups so far this season and 11 straight regular-season games dating back to last season.
The Dodgers, of course, swept the Diamondbacks when it mattered most in the National League Division Series. Despite Los Angeles being off to a slow start, anointing Arizona the new kings of the NL West might be a bit premature.
Particularly if Kershaw has any say in the matter.