Clayton Kershaw was named the starter for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ first Cactus League game this afternoon and was scheduled to pitch two innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Even with the questions surrounding his status to start in Australia, Kershaw was on the mound to begin the spring season for the Dodgers.
According to J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News, Kershaw gave his evaluation of his first time on the mound since Game 6 of the NLCS last season:
Clayton Kershaw said he has "a lot of stuff to work on." Felt like he left too many pitches up in the zone. #dodgers
— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) February 26, 2014
Kershaw threw 42 pitches in two innings and struggled to get outs. He gave up five hits and three runs, while striking out just two. Many of the outs recorded by Kershaw were also well-hit balls. A misplay on a line drive to left field by Carl Crawford with two outs didn’t help the reigning Cy Young award winner and attributed to the final two runs being scored. Kershaw threw 26 strikes, but had issues missing bats with his pitches. For Kershaw, the spring is more about finding his pitches and preparing for the regular season, meaning results aren’t as important for how the left-hander feels about his repertoire.
The 25-year-old will get in the bullpen and work on his stuff before his next start. It still isn’t known whether Kershaw will be on the mound for the Dodgers’ opening game in Sydney next month, but expect the left-hander to prepare for that date. While he may not have been happy with his performance, the Dodger sace still has plenty of time to round into shape before games of meaning begin. He’s be expected to lead the team back to the postseason this year.
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