The Los Angeles Dodgers welcomed Clayton Kershaw back from a six-week stint on the 15-day injured list and started their longest homestand of the season with a 2-1 comeback win against the Colorado Rockies.
Having stretched out to only four innings in a simulated game last week, Kershaw wasn’t yet considered fully stretched out. “I’m sort of going to leave it open,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts nevertheless said about expectations heading into the game.
“We’ll go inning by inning. I think we’re in a good spot with the ‘pen. But as far as Clayton, I don’t really want to put any limitations on it.”
Any reasonable expectation was for Kershaw to pitch five innings in his first start since June 27. He wound up completing exactly that and allowed just three hits while collecting four strikeouts without walking any batters.
Unfortunately for Kershaw and the Dodgers, one of the hits he gave up was a home run to Elehuris Montero in the fifth inning on a hanging slider.
Kershaw exited on the hook for a potential loss because his outing was initially bested by Ty Blach. The soft-tossing lefty added onto his career success against the Dodgers through six scoreless innings.
However, Blach was left in to start the seventh and he promptly came out after giving up a leadoff home run to Max Muncy.
Ryan Yarbrough again filled a piggyback role and did so effectively, providing the Dodgers with three scoreless innings. That helped pave the way not only for Muncy’s game-tying home run but his walk with the bases loaded to provide L.A. with a decided lead in the eighth inning.
Clayton Kershaw unveils split-changeup
One wrinkle to Kershaw’s return was his throwing a split-changeup three times. Included in that was getting one strikeout, which Kershaw hadn’t achieved on a changeup since May 31, 2018.
Kershaw’s fastball velocity got up to 92.2 mph.
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