Clayton Kershaw made his second Cactus League start of the year on Thursday, which came against the Texas Rangers and an familiar face, Corey Seager.
The 28-year-old shortstop spent the 2015-21 seasons with the Dodgers, becoming an important piece in their lineup and earning the 2020 World Series MVP Award. Kershaw was, of course, with the Dodgers for Seager’s entire stretch with the organization, and they had yet to face each other in a game before.
But that changed on Thursday as Seager received two at-bats against Kershaw and ended up hitting a home run off him in the third inning.
When Kershaw was walking off the field, he was seen tipping his cap to Seager, and he talked about the matchup after the game, via SportsNet LA:
“Seags got me. I knew he was going to swing. I threw it as hard as I could, and I just thought maybe he would pop it up but he didn’t. So he won. I’ll give it to him. Tip my cap. Thankfully it didn’t count. We’ll see him again in July.”
Kershaw struck out Seager in the first inning but considered the home run ultimate bragging rights:
“Yeah, but a home run, I’ve got to strike him out like eight times for it to be even now.”
Seager’s homer came on the first pitch, which is unsurprising considering he’s a notorious first-pitch swinger, and he mentioned that when Kershaw was walking off the field:
“He said, ‘You knew I was going to swing.’ It was like, ‘You’re right. I did. I did.’ I love Seag. It’s good to see him even though he’s on the other team. He’s one of the best. I love him.”
Kershaw wound up building his pitch count by getting into the fifth inning. He exited at 75 pitches over 4.1 innings, and with the Dodgers trailing 2-0.
The Dodgers ended up losing the game, 3-1, with their only run coming via a sacrifice fly from Drew Avans to drive in Ryan Ward in the eighth inning.
Clayton Kershaw liked slow Spring Training buildup
Kershaw reported early for Spring Training and expected to need a quick buildup so he could compete with Team USA in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. However, he was unable to secure the required insurance and Kershaw was forced to withdraw from the international tournament.
Kershaw remained in Dodgers camp ahead of his regular throwing schedule and took a step back before ramping up for Opening Day. It wasn’t until March 10 that Kershaw made his first Cactus League start, and he came out of it feeling good.
While it was an unusual process of preparing for the season, Kershaw explained he favored the slower process after being on a similar schedule last year because of the MLB lockout.
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