Dodgers News: Clayton Kershaw Felt Lack Of Consistent Slider Made For ‘Not A Great’ Start Vs. Rockies
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The start of a weekend series meant another significant test for the Los Angeles Dodgers as they look to win a sixth consecutive National League West title. Because of previously adjusting their rotation, Clayton Kershaw got the ball Friday night against the Colorado Rockies.

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Kershaw took the mound with a lifetime 2.04 ERA in September and October. Per Stats LLC, that’s the lowest ERA by any pitcher in the live-ball era. Additionally, his 21 career wins were second only to the 22 he has San Francisco Giants.

Kershaw also faced the reality of being backed by a Dodgers bullpen that did not have Kenley Jansen. Because of last month’s heart trouble, Jansen did not make the trip out of precaution.

Throw all that together, and despite not being overly sharp, Kershaw managed to limit the Rockies to just two runs over six innings.

Following the Dodgers’ win, Kershaw discussed the challenge of not having a consistently sharp slider, via SportsNet LA:

“I think the biggest thing is my slider wasn’t very good tonight. I throw that a lot, so that’s a tough one for me. Didn’t get it to a lot of great spots when I needed to, but threw some decent ones in big situations. I was able to work out of a few things but definitely not a great one for me tonight.”

The Rockies got on the board in the bottom of the second inning behind Matt Holliday’s leadoff home run. The homer was Holliday’s first of his career against the three-time Cy Young Award winner.

Ian Desmond followed with a hustle double, and he later scored the tying run on Drew Butera’s soft single into right field. Kershaw blanked the Rockies from there by stranding a pair of runners in the fourth inning and one in the sixth.

He was provided a lead in the first inning on Cody Bellinger’s RBI double, and it was extended in the second as Yasiel Puig clubbed a solo home run that traveled further than any long ball hit by a Dodgers player this season.

Nolan Arenado’s throwing error and Puig’s RBI single led to the Dodgers taking a decided 4-2 lead in the fifth inning. Although Kershaw didn’t have his best stuff, it amounted to seven strikeouts against one walk, and a 22nd career victory against Colorado.

Perhaps most importantly, it pulled the Dodgers to within a half-game of first place in the NL West.