Clayton Kershaw has been sitting at 99 career wins since April 17 and after leaving the game in the sixth inning on Sunday, he will remain at 99 until later this week.
Kershaw is just 1-2 with a 4.26 ERA this season and has yet to look like the same pitcher that won the NL Cy Young and MVP last season. The left-hander hasn’t necessarily been hit hard, although he has given up five home runs in seven starts, but he’s been susceptible to big innings. He allowed five runs in the fourth inning on Sunday against the Colorado Rockies; however, he was victim to bloopers and infield singles.
Catcher A.J. Ellis has his theory on Kershaw’s slow start and believes it will get better via Mark Saxon of ESPN LA:
I think you’re seeing the National League adjust to him a little bit,” Ellis said. “I think you’re seeing a guy who’s sticking with his process and I’ll take my chances with that in the long run.”
Ellis has caught five of Kershaw’s seven starts this year, despite Don Mattingly saying there would be no personal catchers. Kershaw made it clear that he would prefer Ellis be retained this offseason and the pair have a relationship that is stronger than most.
Manager Don Mattingly also gave his take on the early season struggles of his ace:
When you’re the Cy Young award winner, every team’s going to get ready to play. It’s going to be tougher for you than for anybody else and that’s the respect that he gets,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
Whether it be respect or bad luck, the Dodgers have been able to survive without their ace being the best he can be. The Dodgers are 20-10 and sit in first place in their division.
Dodgers Foundation Blue Gala Event