After completing a sweep of the Colorado Rockies to finish the homestand, the Los Angeles Dodgers make a stop at Chase Field for a four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of their first road trip of the 2023 season.
Dustin May is scheduled to face Merrill Kelly in the series opener on Thursday and will be followed by Clayton Kershaw the following night. The Diamondbacks haven’t officially announced a starter for Friday’s game, but it will likely be Madison Bumgarner taking the mound to make for a rematch with Kershaw.
Kershaw and Bumgarner are two of the most accomplished left-handed starting pitchers of their generation and have had many epic battles in the past. “No, but I have a lot of respect for Bum,” Kershaw answered when asked if pitching against Bumgarner gives him extra excitement or motivation.
“We’ve done it a lot now and we’re still trying to do it. I think there’s a level of respect on both sides that it’s fun to compete against.”
While Kershaw has continued pitching at a high level in his age-35 season, Bumgarner is not the same pitcher he once was with the San Francisco Giants. Now that he’s a member of the Diamondbacks, there also isn’t quite the same feel when the Dodgers face Bumgarner.
“I think it’s different in the sense that he’s not with the Giants,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “But it’s the same in the sense that he still wants to bring his best against the Dodgers. I think as far as pitch mix, there’s a lot more secondary pitches.
“There’s a lot more backdoor sliders or cutters to the to the right-hander, a curveball more. It’s not as much of a bullying, which he used to do with his pitch mix earlier.”
As Kershaw and Bumgarner approach the latter stages of their respective careers, Roberts will appreciate every time they face each other. “I think their baseball cards are long and very colored,” he said.
“Very impressive. I’ll tell you that I think those two guys going against one another brings out the best, because they have a mutual respect and a friendship. So they always want to outdo one another. You’re going to see that come out.”
Clayton Kershaw & Madison Bumgarner for evolving
Kershaw and Bumgarner were once considered to be among the most stubborn starting pitchers in all of baseball, but Roberts credited them for evolving over time.
“I think that that’s just less stubborn, more open to growing and being open to things,” he said. “I think, maturity and the way they’ve kind of evolved speaks to that.”
Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!