The 2019 season was somewhat of a disappointment for Clayton Kershaw, who began the year on the injured list and could not extend his Los Angeles Dodgers franchise record of eight consecutive Opening Day starts.
Kershaw returned to the mound in mid-April and went on to make 29 starts that season. While he posted solid numbers across the board, the left-hander wound up averaging a career-low 90.4 mph on his fastball.
Disappointed by the results, Kershaw was among a handful of Dodgers who visited Driveline Baseball that offseason. He immediately noticed a difference in 2020 Spring Training, calling his health “night and day” from the previous year.
Now as he gets set to enter his 14th MLB season, Kershaw revealed that he didn’t return to Driveline during this past offseason but remained in touch with some of the trainers for continued guidance, per Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:
Last month, he casually revealed that he didn’t travel to Driveline this winter but has stayed in contact with the program’s trainers for workout guidance. “You get older, you decline, right?” Kershaw said. “But I felt like mine was just too quick, and so I knew there was something there I wasn’t doing. I think I kind of have figured that out a little bit.”
Despite being scratched from his Opening Day start due to back stiffness, Kershaw enjoyed a mostly healthy and resurgent 2020 season, going 6-2 with a 2.16 ERA, 3.31 FIP and 0.84 WHIP with 62 strikeouts in 58.1 innings pitched (10 games).
He went on to thrive during the postseason as well, posting a 4-1 record with a 2.93 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 37 strikeouts in 30.2 innings. Kershaw was particularly dominant in the World Series, winning Games 1 and 5 while limiting the Tampa Bay Rays to a combined three runs over 11.2 innings pitched.
Looking ahead to the 2021 season, Kershaw figures to once again anchor an impressive Dodgers starting rotation that includes reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer, Walker Buehler and David Price.
Kershaw uncertain of future with Dodgers as free agency looms
Kershaw, 33 in March, is entering the final season of a three-year extension he signed in 2018. When asked about possibly becoming a free agent or signing another extension with the Dodgers, Kershaw genuinely said he wasn’t sure how matters would unfold.
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