Like every great pitcher that’s ever toed the rubber in the Majors, there have been days where Clayton Kershaw struggles to locate and simply doesn’t have his full arsenal of pitches. In Kershaw’s case, those games have more times than not come against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
Last season, the Dodgers’ ace allowed seven runs in 1.2 innings during a May start, though his return to Chase Field was much more along the lines of what’s come to be expected — 10 strikeouts in eight innings and only run allowed.
However, Saturday was another struggle for Kershaw as he failed to locate pitches, uncharacteristically issued three walks, and allowed six runs (five earned) in 5.1 innings. The reigning National League MVP very matter of factly summed up his performance, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
Basically, I got blasted today,” said Kershaw. “I don’t know what else to say.”
Kershaw then expanded on his outing and compared it to other starts where it’s appeared he pitched well:
Sometimes you’re going to have days when line drives are hit at guys and your line looks better than you pitched,” he said. “Other days you’ll give up ground balls and broken-bat hits. Today was a combination of both. They hit balls where we weren’t and hit a lot of balls hard.
Some of the damage done against Kershaw was a result of the Dodgers use of a shift backfiring. Manager Don Mattingly defended its use after the game and while Kershaw was less emphatic in his support of shifts, he didn’t place blame for the loss on the Dodgers using them.
With their loss Saturday, the Dodgers are now 2-3 this season and fell below .500 for the first time since July 9, 2013. If 2014 is any indication, Kershaw will bounce back just fine from his latest subpar performance at Chase Field.
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