Dodgers News: Clayton Kershaw Appreciative Of Andy Pettitte, Derek Lowe
Clayton Kershaw
Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports

Since making his MLB debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008, Clayton Kershaw has established himself as one of game’s all-time greatest starting pitchers.

He has accomplished almost everything from a statistical standpoint, being selected to eight All-Star Games and winning three National League Cy Young Awards, an MVP and five NL ERA titles.

Throughout his decade-plus in the Majors, Kershaw has also crossed paths with players he once considered inspirations growing up.

During a recent appearance on “Off Air with Joe and Orel” podcast, Kershaw revealed that pitching against childhood idol Andy Pettitte has been one of the fondest moments of his career thus far:

“I pitched against Andy Pettitte one game and that was big for me. Andy Pettitte was my guy growing up. He’s from Texas and I just grew up thinking he was so awesome. I got to meet him, super nice guy. I really enjoyed just getting to talk with him a little bit. So getting to pitch against him was probably my ‘Wow, this is cool,’ moment.”

Kershaw also credited former Dodgers teammate Derek Lowe for leading by example and never letting adversity get the best of him:

“I remember Derek Lowe. That was kind of the first guy that I ever talked to when coming up. I really enjoyed watching him pitch and listening to him talk. First of all, he never went on the DL. He made every single start, all the time. Always healthy, always working, always practicing, always getting better. I really appreciated that about him. It was just something I really admired.

“And then, there was one game in Colorado. He’s a sinker ball guy, so he did not like pitching in Colorado because it was hard for him. He gave up six runs in the first inning, 54 pitches. And he went up to Joe and was just like, ‘Let me go. I want to stay out here. Just let me go. I want to do this.’ I think we still lost but he gave us five innings after that and it really resonated with me. Just how important it is to continue to grand and continue to battle.

“No matter if you’re giving up runs or not, there’s still a purpose for you to be out there. If you can give your team five or six innings on a bad day, that will set you guys up for the next couple days. You can’t give up. You get one start every five days.”

During a recent Dodgers Zoom party, Kershaw revealed that former All-Star first baseman Will Clark was another idol of his, and the inspiration behind wearing No. 22.

Kershaw tapping into velocity

Although Kershaw began the 2020 season on the 10-day injured list and was unable to start Opening Day, he’s pitched well upon returning. Included in that has been an uptick in velocity, which is a break from how it trended the past two seasons.

Kershaw has been unable to explain the increase, other than to note it could be a byproduct of several workouts. It’s also been a sigh of relief for the left-hander, as he felt capable of pitching with more velocity than had been seen.

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