Long-time Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw had his best start in months on Sunday in Cincinnati. In just his second game since returning from injury, Kershaw allowed one earned run and struck out five in five innings of work.
After the game, LA manager Dave Roberts gave Kershaw’s performance a rave review:
“I thought he was great all the way around. He was fantastic. The story of today was the slider. It was really good. Threw some really good curveballs. Fastball mixed in there. Overall, in control and seeing him get through five [innings], get close to 75 pitches, it was perfect.”
Kershaw cut it close with the timing of his return, but he’s on pace to be fully stretched out come playoffs. His first game back was a 50 pitch, four inning affair against Arizona. Kershaw threw 74 pitches on Sunday. A visibly excited Roberts hopes that his star lefty can get to the “six inning threshold” in his next outing.
Kershaw by the Numbers
For the season, Kershaw owns a 3.27 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. His strikeout rate of 30.6% is his highest since 2016. His FIP of 2.80 also suggests that he’s pitched better than his high (by Kershaw standards) ERA.
Assuming Kershaw is ready for a full workload, he gives the Dodgers something many GMs can only dream about. Four high-level starting pitchers who all have plenty of playoff experience. Some (Scherzer and Kershaw), more than others (Buehler and Urias).
The Dodgers have just four series remaining in the regular season and still trail the Giants. Kershaw figures to have at least two more very meaningful starts before the postseason. He’ll get the ball again in the upcoming Diamondbacks series.
Like any baseball season, there’s been plenty of highs and lows for the Dodgers. They’ve been no stranger to injuries in 2021.
Getting their franchise cornerstone back on the mound is a very, very welcome sight as they try to win their ninth straight division title.