Just when it seemed the Los Angeles Dodgers may have found the final piece of the puzzle in their starting rotation, Mike Bolsinger suffered an oblique strain minutes before he was set to take the mound on Sunday.
While there’s plenty of uncertainty throughout the rotation, Clayton Kershaw continues to serve as an exception to the rule. The Dodgers’ ace was on the hill Saturday afternoon in a battle between aces as the Chicago White Sox started Chris Sale.
Kershaw received one extra day of rest between outings, and was sharp as he reached the targeted five innings pitched. “I felt better than when I pitched against Colorado,” the three-time Cy Young Award winner said.
“At one point, I felt like I used all my pitches effectively. Not all at the same time, which you still have to get to. Overall, I feel like I’m on a decent progression.”
Kershaw has now thrown 15 innings in Spring Training and allowed just three runs (1.80 ERA), sports a 1.13 WHIP and has 14 strikeouts to three walks. He issued one walk through each of his first three outings before snapping the streak against the White Sox.
While Kershaw avoided handing out any free passes, he was tested by Jose Abreu in an 11-pitch at-bat during the first inning. “That was pretty impressive. We don’t get to see him a lot and I don’t know if he’s under the radar, but he might be one of the top-10 best hitters in the game,” Kershaw said. “I made quality pitches he was able to foul off.”
Already regarded as having one of the better moves in baseball, Kershaw picked a runner off first base for a second consecutive game. “It can get you out of some jams. Like [Saturday], it was kind of a pitch-count saver,” he said. “It’s something I’ve worked on for sure.”
Now leading a rotation that’s without Zack Greinke and with plenty of question marks behind him, Kershaw dismissed the idea others on the staff are looking to him to set the tone. “No, they’re not. We have five starters,” Kershaw said. “We’re all just trying to do our job.”