Clayton Kershaw has never thrown a perfect game in his illustrious career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he twice now has come close to accomplishing the historic feat.
The first instance was June 18, 2014, when Kershaw threw a no-hitter against the Colorado Rockies. He would have completed a perfect game at Dodger Stadium if not for Hanley Ramirez’s throwing error after fielding a chopper.
Two months away from the anniversary date of Kershaw’s no-hitter, he took the mound at Target Field for his 2022 regular season debut. The three-time Cy Young Award winner proceeded to turn in a vintage performance that spanned seven perfect innings.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts removed Kershaw at 80 pitches, which immediately sparked debate on social media amongst baseball pundits, current and former players, and fans alike.
Kershaw appeared content with the decision while in the dugout and expressed as much during a postgame interview on SportsNet LA:
“It’s hard. I feel bad for Barnesy. Barnesy did such a great job and it’s fun to get to catch one of those, so I wanted to do it with Barnesy. It would be special but at the end of the day those are individual things. Those are selfish goals, and we’re trying to win. That’s really all we’re here for.
“And as much as I would’ve wanted to do it, I’ve thrown 75 pitches in a sim game and hadn’t gone six innings, let alone seven. Sure, I would’ve love to do it, but maybe we’ll get another chance. Who knows? … I would’ve loved to have stayed (in the game) but bigger things, man. Bigger things.”
When pressed further on the matter, Kershaw reiterated he not yet is fully stretched out and said Roberts made “the right choice.”
Kershaw was slotted fifth into the Dodgers Opening Day rotation so he could build his pitch count in a simulated game last week before facing an opponent.
Dodgers perfect game
Sandy Koufax is responsible for the only perfect game in Dodgers franchise history, which he threw against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 9, 1965.
There have been 23 no-hitters in Dodgers history, led by four from Koufax (including his perfect game).
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