There isn’t much Clayton Kershaw has been unable to accomplish this season. Among other statistics, his 18 wins, six complete games, 1.67 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and .188 batting average against all lead the Majors.
However on Monday, Kershaw was denied one request by his manager. With the Los Angeles Dodgers leading the San Diego Padres 9-3 heading into the ninth inning, Don Mattingly told the ace of his staff, leader of the team and National League MVP candidate, he wasn’t going back out on the mound that evening.
To that point, Kershaw had struck out eight on just 89 pitches and allowed three runs, though only one earned. He naturally wanted to remain in the game, but Mattingly didn’t view it as the right decision for the team, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
He definitely wanted to finish,” said Mattingly. “I didn’t think it was the right thing. He thinks he can throw a complete game every time. He knows the pitch count, the fact he gets an extra day [Thursday is off], all those facts. He told me that. I made the decision between innings. I felt like it was the best thing for the team. If the game’s on the line and he’s made 110 pitches, he keeps going. We saved him 10 pitches tonight.”
The eight innings Kershaw finished with are certainly nothing to brush aside as the left-hander has now gone at least eight innings in eight of his last 10 starts. The win also improved Kershaw’s record to 3-0 against the Padres this season.
Mattingly has previously praised Kershaw for his ability to rise to the task at hand when needed, which Kershaw did once again Monday at Chavez Ravine.
The Dodgers manager will next lean on his ace this weekend as Kershaw is scheduled to take the mound in the series finale against the San Francisco Giants on Sunday.
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