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Dodgers: Kershaw Hit Hard Again In His Second Rehab Start

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LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 01: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws in the bullpen before the game against the San Francisco Giants on April 1, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

In his second rehab start of the season, Clayton Kershaw once again got hit hard by a minor leaguer. The long-time Dodgers ace went a total of six innings and gave up two earned runs on two solo homeruns. He struck out six and did not allow a walk.

First Inning

Kershaw started off the game by getting a groundout to second base. He followed that at-bat up with a groundout to shortstop and an easy fly ball to center field to retire the side. He needed just eight pitches to get through the inning and only threw one ball.

Second Inning

Kershaw again does not allow a hit, but a runner reaches when shortstop Gavin Lux throws it away on a play at first. Kershaw ends the inning by picking that runner off at first base after a strikeout and a popout. He throws 11 pitches to get through the inning, bringing his total up to a very efficient 19 pitches through two innings.


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Third Inning

The Springfield Cardinals string together some hits and a sacrifice bunt this inning, but the defense bails Kershaw out of trouble. They nab the runner at home on the final play of the inning to keep his start scoreless through three. Kersh needs 14 pitches to get through the third, bringing his total up to 33 through three.

Fourth Inning

A fly out to right field, a groundout to short, and another flyout to right gets Kershaw through the inning quickly. He uses up 7 more pitches to put his total at forty through four. Kershaw s pounding the strike zone and has only thrown nine balls up to this point.

Fifth Inning

Perhaps the best inning for either of Kershaw’s rehab starts. He strikes out two and gets a groundout on just twelve pitches to put his total at 52. The Dodgers ideally wanted him to get in six innings of work and around 60-75 pitches if possible.

Sixth Inning

The man really is human. Two minor leaguers go deep off of Clayton Kershaw in what will likely be his final rehab inning before returning to Los Angeles. One of the guys to take him yard is the Cardinals’ 6th ranked prospect, Dylan Carlson. Overall, Kershaw tosses six innings and gives up two earned runs for Tulsa.

Analysis

It’s easy to look at this start and be a little bit embarrassed that Kershaw had a total of three homeruns hit off of him by minor leaguers. But the fact that he was consistently hitting the strike zone with his pitches tells me that Kershaw is already feeling better, those guys just took advantage of the fact that he was throwing a lot of fastballs over the plate. His velocity was reportedly sitting at just a tick over 88, which is the most concerning part for me.

Kershaw’s fastball had been slowly climbing all Spring, up until his shoulder injury put him on the shelf. If he is able to make a start for Los Angeles on Sunday or Monday, his velocity will certainly be something to keep an eye on. The Dodgers will already be without Hyun-jin Ryu and Rich Hill for a while, both recovering from injuries.

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

12 Comments

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  1. Kershaw has to have a velocity difference between his fastball and his slider. If he does not he gets hit and allows home runs. We saw that last year as he is around the strike zone and he is very hittable.
    We were all hoping if he was not able to increase his velocity he could increase movement. location and possibly perfect a change as that pitch is needed when your velocity is no longer elite. If you watch Ryu and Urias they are able to change pitch velocity by 10-15 mph along with pitch height to throw the hitter off.

  2. Kershaw is a very concerning commodity now. A great pitcher who is in his twilight. The Dodgers have used him up and not provided him with a WS Title unfortunately. The F.O. should have realized this sooner and gone after a quality younger starter, but they didn’t and it’s going to haunt them. Kersh has given his best for years and it’s awful to watch the demise of such a great player. I just don’t see how it gets better at this point. The Dodgers gambled on their starters and three of them are questionable now. Disappointed in the F.O.

    • I still am on the Kershaw bus. His velocity is creeping up and I think he will be in the 92 range as the season progresses. The thing to look at is his control. Control comes first, then velocity can be added. And as Brook says, Clayton was throwing a lot of fastballs. He may not be the clear cut Cy candidate anymore; but I still think he is going to sneak another one in before it is all over. And another ERA title. Rich Hill hits 90 sometimes on the radar gun. But he is sometimes unhittable. Clayton will be throwing more and more breaking pitches and fewer fastballs. And who knows if there isn’t an experimental pitch getting close. Don’t give up on Clayton! He does not need to shut the other team out every night for us to win. We have a strong, strong team. He gives a solid six, and we are good.

    • Used him up and not provided him with a ws title? No, he’s played his part in not getting that ws title just like everyone else.

  3. Sorry guys as the dad of a college pitcher I don’t consider Kershaws stat line as getting “hit hard”. That is twice you said that in the past week. First of all it is a rehab assignment so the object is work out stuff with no injuries. Second pitching in Double A may have more talent than AAA ball because most teams put thei top prospects in AA. The AAA stat line was against guys that have played in the majors generally. Unless he says different, he is getting where he should be. Go Dodgers.

  4. I have heard that if you want to see future major-league players, look at your team’s AA-team. My concern is that Kershaw is So competitive that he sees the Dodgers starting pitchers being ineffective, he Will take it upon himself to be Superman of the staff. He is Not that Kershaw anymore.

  5. Hey Brook, maybe it’s time for you to take a walk on the positive side of the street. When pitchers go for rehab assignments they go to WORK on stuff and prepare to rejoin the big club. If they get some outs while doing it, great. If not, it doesn’t really matter unless they don’t get done what they’re trying to work on. Kersh got his pitch count up where he wanted and got up and down through 6 innings while working on his whole arsenal. If he got “hit hard” while he’s doing it, it’s meaningless. He got his work done. Well done, Kersh. Can’t wait to see you on the mound at Dodger Stadium!

  6. While 88 is not exactly “pounding the strike zone” hard, it seems to me that he was actually quite effective. Given your description of his performance, your headline gives the wrong impression. When I think of a pitcher being “hit hard,” it sounds like a complete failure, with many hitters teeing off. That simply was not the case. It is concerning that his fastball velocity is below 90, but you indicated that it had been “climbing all Spring,” so maybe it will continue to do so. Although he may not be the what he once was, his ERA was 2.73 in 2018, which was good enough for 4th in the NL. That’s still damned good.

  7. If he got hit hard in his last inning of work, whst does thst tell us? Maybe he was getting tired? Maybe he losg a littld velo or movement right at the end? Did he go throw more pitches in the bullpen afterward? Would be nice to know.

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