Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and Clayton Kershaw engaged in a discussion in the dugout when it came time to remove the left-hander from a start for the second consecutive outing.
The first instance was after Kershaw labored to the tune of 39 pitches in one inning against the Chicago Cubs. It marked the shortest start of his career and wound up setting the table for Kershaw to take the mound on three days’ rest in the Freeway Series.
He was perfect through three innings and came out after five scoreless. The Dodgers held a comfortable 13-0 lead, and Kershaw attempted to convince Roberts to leave him in the game. “Five innings is nothing to write home about, obviously,” Kershaw said.
“But the team, Doc felt that was best coming off of short rest or whatever. Anytime you pitch five innings, you don’t really feel like you’ve done your job, but in this situation it seemed to make the most sense.”
When asked if how he is feeling physically is the driving force to attempting to coax Roberts into a different decision, Kershaw answered, “There’s a lot of factors to it. At the end of the day this is a team decision.
“A lot of the reasons I wanted to stay in were more of my personal wants and things like that. That’s not what the team is about, so at that point can’t really argue with it. You just go with what Doc thinks is best.”
As for being a notorious routine-driven pitcher, Kershaw found relative ease on adjusting his schedule. “I have a little experience with it. You just kind of have to combine two days in your routine,” he said.
“So I did that no problem, other than the really late flight from Chicago. It was a little bit of a grind that off day, but other than that I felt good with it. Now I think I have an extra day (of rest before next start), so I don’t know what to do now. We’ll see.”
No reason to push Kershaw
Heading into Saturday’s game against the L.A. Angels, Roberts conceded he would be a little more cautious when it came to making a decision with Kershaw. The Dodgers holding such a large lead gave Roberts further reason to lift him after five innings.
“It’s short rest. He took it for the team as far as taking the baseball on short rest in May,” Roberts said. “To go out there on short rest and give us five innings of shutout baseball, with a 13-run lead, there’s just not a whole lot of upside, in my view, to have him go one more.”
Of course, the Dodgers bullpen then struggled but the team managed to hang on for a win that was much closer than most anticipated when Kershaw exited.
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