It’s a battle of dueling aces in LA. Clayton Kershaw may not be the same guy that won the NL MVP in 2014, but he’s still a top-10-15 pitcher in all of MLB. Be that as it may, Walker Buehler is here to challenge for the official crown of Dodgers ace.
The veteran Kershaw sat down with SportsNet LA analyst Jerry Hairston Jr to talk about, amongst other things, competition within the LA rotation.
"I compete with Walker because he's just cocky, he's so cocky you just gotta compete with him." ? @ClaytonKersh22 & @TheRealJHair discuss everything from welcoming another baby boy in the offseason to competing with guys like Buehler & Price on a daily basis. pic.twitter.com/UEJ5rZcQr8
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) February 20, 2020
While he regaled us with stories of baby-Kersh number 3, he also spoke on how excited he is to get back to work, especially with additions like Mookie Betts and David Price in tow.
I would say every year there’s a little bit of added excitement — it’s like the first day of school, you come up and see guys — but that kind of wears off over time. This year… man, it just seems like it’s so exciting.
From there, Hairston identified Clayton as “one of the most competitive people he’s ever played with” (Hairston and Kershaw were teammates in 2012 and 2013) and recalled the personal competition between the long-time ace and former Dodger Zack Greinke.
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The wonder is now what the competition is like with Walker Buehler, and now Price in the mix. Kershaw shared his thoughts.
Walker took another step forward last year, and now he’s not a secret anymore — guys know that he’s a stud. David has been a stud, has the potential to be a stud again … and for myself, it’s a lot of fun. You said ‘competing’, with Walker, I compete because he’s just cocky. He’s just so cocky, you just gotta compete with him.
While he continued to complete his thought on the competition between teammates fueling confidence, especially for rotation mates. But here, we’re focusing in on the Buehler comment.
In the eyes of many fans, the 25-year-old Buehler has already passed Kershaw for the mantle of “ace” in the Los Angeles rotation. However, that title is something that’s earned and when you carry the weight of 12 major league seasons against 3, it’s easy to surmise that Clayton Kershaw remains the ace of the Dodgers. Even if Buehler is ready to be the top dog.
It’s a toss-up on who will start opening day, but the argument could be made for either ace to get the ceremonial nod on March 26.
The Kershaw/Buehler battle (and even Price) should absolutely be an exciting sub-plot to a highly anticipated season for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Now go ahead and bring up Kershaw’s playoff struggles in the comments below.