Dodgers News: Clayton Kershaw Takes Blame Off From Personal Catcher Debate
Kenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports

Mired in a small two-game rut that came on the heels of their six-game winning streak, the Los Angeles Dodgers had Clayton Kershaw, their personal stopper, on the mound for Sunday’s nationally televised game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

For the fifth time in Kershaw’s 16 starts this season, he threw to Yasmani Grandal. That’s only of note because of Kershaw’s well-documented friendship with A.J. Ellis. The Dodgers’ ace hasn’t made issue of forming the battery in Grandal since the club acquired the switch-hitting catcher prior to the 2015 season.

Former manager Don Mattingly, and current skipper Dave Roberts both voiced their opinion against using a personal catcher. Kershaw labored through his start on Sunday, allowing all four runs in the fourth inning.

Much of the response to his struggles centered around Roberts’ decision to start Grandal behind the plate. Kershaw, however, dismissed the notion of any blame falling on either of the Dodgers’ catchers, per ESPN’s Doug Padilla:

“Yeah, Yas and I are getting on the same page and doing a good job,” Kershaw said. “They don’t get the credit when we pitch well and so they don’t deserve the blame when we pitch bad. And that’s the way it works.”

In 11 games (82 innings) working with Ellis this season, Kershaw owns a 1.32 ERA, has given up nine doubles, four home runs and walked five batters. In six games (five starts; 38 innings) with Grandal catching him, Kershaw owns a 2.84 ERA, has allowed seven doubles, one triple, two home runs and walked four (one intentional).

Kershaw’s six innings of work match a season low, set June 4 in a home start against the Atlanta Braves. The Dodgers are now 14-2 in games started by their left-handed ace this season.

Clayton Kershaw with A.J. Ellis and Yasmani Grandal in 2015

CatcherGamesInnings PitchedStrikeout-to-walk-ratioOpponents' Slash line
A.J. Ellis21143.26.55.204/.251/.293
Yasmani Grandal1289.08.54.178/.213/.268