Clayton Kershaw continued on with a strong showing this season in what was his longest start since June 27, 2021, and he received some help from the offense as the Los Angeles Dodgers came from behind against the Chicago Cubs to extend their winning streak to six games.
When Kershaw had last faced the Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 7, he scattered five hits over seven shutout innings. The performance was a bit of redemption as it was in 2021 that Kershaw suffered one of the worst starts of his career.
It was clear Saturday he would continue to get the better of the Cubs. Kershaw struck out the side in the first inning and faced the minimum through four.
“He’s always intense and focused, but there was a different type of edge to him, and a good edge,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after the 4-2 win. “He just came out attacking from the get-go.
“Slider was really good, the curveball usage was great, Austin (Barnes) was great (calling pitches), held the velocity throughout the game, working arm side, crowding the right-handed hitter. It was just an overall great performance. We didn’t play great defense behind him, but it didn’t affect him. And for him to go as deep as he did, was very helpful to the ‘pen.”
Kershaw threw 102 pitches over 7.2 innings, both of which were season highs. The 10 strikeouts Kershaw collected are the second-most for this year, trailing only the 13 from his 2022 debut against the Minnesota Twins.
The 34-year-old improved to 6-2 this year and lowered his ERA to 2.40 to go along with a 1.01 WHIP. “I wouldn’t say surprised,” Roberts answered when asked if there was any doubt Kershaw could continue pitching at an elite level after twice suffering a left elbow/forearm injury in 2021.
“Just grateful that he’s healthy. He’s done a lot to make sure that he stays on the field. When he’s healthy, he’s an All-Star and one of the best in baseball. He’s efficient, he can command the fastball, he can limit damage, he’s prepared.
“It’s just about making sure he’s healthy and feeling good. I’m just really grateful that he feels good, and obviously the performance echos that.”
Roberts hopes Kershaw makes All-Star Game start
For all that Kershaw has accomplished over a storied career with the Dodgers, an All-Star Game start remains one missing accolade. There’s been a recent push to change that this season, particularly with the Midsummer Classic being played at Dodger Stadium.
“It would be great,” Roberts said of Kershaw possibly starting the 2022 All-Star Game. “I just learned he hasn’t started an All-Star Game before.
“To put himself in position to start the game at Dodger Stadium, I think it would obviously be great for him, who’s accomplished everything on the baseball field, and also for baseball in general.
“He’s doing everything he can to earn his way not only onto the team but the opportunity to be the starter.”
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