As the reigning National League MVP and a three-time Cy Young Award winner, Clayton Kershaw’s reputation precedes him. Generous as he is off the field, he’s equally competitive and driven on it.
By now it’s well known Kershaw is not to be bothered on days he starts. He’s locked in, focused on the task that lies ahead of him and doesn’t have time for any small talk or interviews until after his day or night of work.
On occasion Kershaw has exuded some of that competitive fire, but his display of emotion and frustration on Tuesday night was unlike anything previously seen from the left-hander. Upset over a called ball followed by his inability to make a play on a slow grounder, Kershaw fired the ball into the ground and then over toward the Dodgers dugout.
I don’t know. I think I was just fired up for some reason. It was just a weird night and felt kind of different out there. Nothing really out of the ordinary. I don’t know, just kind of fired up a little bit. I don’t really know why. Just a little more on edge tonight than normal, I guess. I don’t really have a reason for it.”
One inning after letting go of the frustration, Kershaw and home plate umpire Todd Tichenor got into a shouting match. Kershaw was agitated with Tichenor calling time as he went into his delivery, and it required A.J. Ellis to get involved and prevent Tichenor from making his way toward the mound.
Ellis and Tichenor had a quick and tense conversation, which Dodgers manager Don Mattingly also joined before play resumed. With the Dodgers going to a four-man rotation during the remainder of their road trip, Kershaw’s next time to the mound will be against another American League West opponent in the form of the Houston Astros on Sunday.