Lost in the shuffle of the Los Angeles Dodgers completing a season series sweep of the Cincinnati Reds was Clayton Kershaw turning in his longest start since coming off the 10-day injured list earlier this month.
He threw four innings against the San Francisco Giants upon returning, then five frames when facing the Cleveland Guardians at Dodger Stadium six days later. Kershaw allowed five hits against the Guardians and although he stretched out, considered the outing a bit of a challenge.
The Cincinnati Reds had slightly more success on Thursday as they collected seven hits off Kershaw, though only managed on run.
Following the outing, Kershaw gave credit to the Reds for making it a difficult afternoon and noted he felt it was another step forward, via SportsNet LA:
“I actually felt better about it than the last one. They just got a lot of hits, so I had to limit the damage. Was always having runners on base, but thankfully able to get through six. Made some pitches when I had to. That team, they’ve got a lot of lefty killers over there. A lot of guys that really do well against lefties, especially with Solano back in there. Overall, it was a grind but I definitely felt a little better than my last one.”
Kershaw went on to add he likely could have thrown more than the 80 pitches over six innings and reiterated his overall process of building back up has gone well:
“It’s been a good progression. I think I could’ve gone more. I think just with the pitch count, they were swinging (early in counts) so it kept it down. I don’t even know what it was, but I definitely felt like I could go back out there. Doc made that call, which is fine. First time pitching on regular rest going into Colorado, so that probably has something to do with it. Overall, it’s been a good progression and I feel good about it. … I think the first two were a little limited. Today, I don’t think was going to be, it just kind of worked out that way. Yeah, I feel like I’m pretty good to go now as far as pitch count, durability and that type of stuff.”
Overall this season Kershaw is 5-1 with a 2.00 ERA and 0.91 WHIP across eight starts this season, and allowed two earned runs or fewer in seven of those outings.
He figures to be on track for a selection to the All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium and conceivably could earn his way into starting a Midsummer Classic for the first time in his career.
Kershaw managing back injury
Given he has a history of various back injuries over the past handful of seasons, Kershaw acknowledged his latest trouble is something that needs to be managed. However, the 34-year-old doesn’t believe his back will limit him in any capacity moving forward.
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