Look, you know it, I know it, we all already knew it. For Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, he likes throwing to his guys. His guys meaning his favorite catchers.
For years it was the veteran AJ Ellis behind the dish for some of prime Kershaw’s greatest hits. Nowadays, it’s Austin Barnes. And despite Dave Roberts trying to talk his way out of calling Barnes Clayton’s personal catcher, the writing is on the wall already.
In huge letters.
On Friday, Doc was pressed on it a bit and, while he talked out days where the club wants to give Will Smith a day off, he reluctantly almost agreed about the Kershaw/Barnes tandem for the first time.
The thing about Clayton is that he’s willing to do whatever we ask, but the synergy that he and Austin have, I think it’s real. And you gotta appreciate it.
Barnesy has caught Kersh a total of 39 games over their 4+ seasons together. Clayton owns a 2.68 ERA in 235 innings with Barnes as his batterymate. With Smith, the Dodgers ace has 3.39 ERA in only 66.1 IP over 13 games together.
So, it’s not to say that Kershaw is bad with Will, he’s just better with Austin.
Roberts continued on to explain the relationship.
I think it’s just that they have history. This is a four year history that they’ve built a relationship and think along the same lines. And, obviously, Austin’s skill behind the plate as well … but I think that the last time Will caught Clayton was in Arizona and Clayton just wasn’t good, to be quite franks. So it didn’t matter who was catching him. But I still believe the body of work that Austin and Clayton have, there’s something to it.
With the playoff formatting looking different this year, and no need for travel days, teams will have fewer off-days in each round. And with that, Doc sweet talked his way around the fact that, while he doesn’t like the terminology “personal catcher”, Austin Barnes is essentially Clayton Kershaw’s personal catcher in 2020.