It’s widely known and accepted statistics in Spring Training and over the final month of a regular season in September aren’t completely indicative of a player’s success or lack thereof. However, Clayton Kershaw is on record as saying he values Spring Training stats.
The Dodgers’ ace was on the mound Thursday night at Goodyear Ballpark to face the Cleveland Indians in his fifth Cactus League outing this year. Kershaw was coming off a start in which he allowed two runs on six hits to the Chicago White Sox over five innings of work.
Kershaw didn’t receive a decision in the start, but felt as though he got all of his pitches over and was on the right track with Opening Day looming.
Thursday was a different story for the left-hander, as he labored through five innings and was charged with two earned runs. After throwing 96 pitches, his most in any start this spring, Kershaw didn’t pull any punches when assessing his performance, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“It wasn’t very good,” he said. “Didn’t make very many good pitches tonight. Don’t know really what to say. No real bright spots. Guess I got out of some jams. If A.J. [Ellis, catcher] wasn’t back there, I probably would have 47 wild pitches. Definitely things to get better at.”
Behind multiple extra-base hits, the Indians scored one run in each of the first two innings. Kershaw worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the second by striking out Francisco Lindor. The 2014 National League MVP worked around a one-out double in the third by striking out the side.
Kershaw struck out two more in the fourth and ended the night with seven punchouts. A leadoff single and throwing error on a fielder’s choice left runners on the corners with none out in the fifth inning. However, the Indians were unable to extend their lead as Kershaw induced a pop out, followed by an inning-ending double play.
Kershaw is scheduled for a final tuneup before the Dodgers open the 2016 season on April 4 against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.