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Dodgers: Roberts Talks Kershaw’s Velocity and Plans For Him

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 28: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to a MLB baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks during Opening Day at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, March 28, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Los Angeles Dodgers won 12-5. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)

A day after Clayton Kershaw made his first rehab start of the season, Dave Roberts addresses his thoughts on the Dodgers’ long-time ace. Roberts made note of Kershaw’s velocity, which he saw as a sign of encouragement.

Sitting at 88-91 mph on a fastball is not exactly what you would like to see from Kershaw, but Roberts put a positive spin on it. He noted that his velocity in Thursday’s game was just a bit higher than what he was throwing in Spring bullpens and simulated games.

Kershaw tossed 4.1 innings of work in Oklahoma City and allowed two runs on four hits. One of those hits was a solo shot from one of Milwaukee’s top prospects, Tyrone Taylor. Taylor has never seen Major League time. He has, however, been a very powerful hitter at the minor league level. He hit twenty homeruns last year playing at the Triple-A level.


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As for Kershaw, he will still be at least one rehab start away from making his return to Los Angeles. It seems reasonable to assume that he will start on Tuesday when the OKC Dodgers play in Omaha against the Royals Triple-A affiliate.

Last season, Kershaw’s fastball sat at an average of 90.8 mph, well below his 2017 average of 92.8 mph. That resulted in a much higher hard hit percentage than he has been used to his entire career. Hitters averaged a 35.4 percent hard-hit rate in 2018 compared to 24.2 percent in 2015. He pitched to a 2.73 earned run average last season to go along with the worse FIP and striekout rate of his career.

For Kershaw, it was certainly a down year y his standards. His velocity will certainly be something to watch moving forward. The Dodgers currently have Julio Urias and Ross Stripling filling in for Kershaw and Rich Hill. The two young guys will presumably make the move to the bullpen when the long-time veterans return.

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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.

4 Comments

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  1. Kershaw’s velocity has ticked down every year. He said he might be able to increase it and presumably he lifted weights or whatever during the off season to try to accomplish that. It doesn’t sound like whatever he’s done has worked. Unless it increases from here, I think his effectiveness will likely continue to decrease.

    • He sucks never comes through in the playoffs other teams are wearing rings he 1shouhave had. Not to mention Puig and Kemp should be wearing rings what did tHey get for their efforts i will tell you traded ..Kemp twice but lets keep the guy who hasent done crap for 3 more years give him 33 million $ but we will trade our whole outfield away and pick up squat. Wish the O’MALLEYS WERE STILL IN CHARGE OF THINGS. AND PLEASE DONT COMPARE KERSHAW WITH THE LIKES OF KOUFAX OR DRYSDALE THOSE GUYS GUYS WOULD PITCH 9 INNINGS AND NOT BREAK A SWEAT

  2. By resigning Roberts as manager on a long term contract, the Dodgers have given up any chance of winning the World Series for as long as he is the manager. His ability to manage a pitching staff is non existent, especially in a short meaningful series. His decisions in the 2018 series were terrible, especially removing Rich Hill. There was a recent comment by Puig, who the the incompetent management traded, that the Red Sox manager bringing in their best pitcher, Sale, in a crucial monent and Roberts did not do the same with the Dodgers. The article was in Sports Illustrated. Puig knows enough to be a better manager than Roberts. Don’t forget, this is the same incompetent that removed Hill when he was pitching a perfect game a few years ago because he had thrown an arbitrary number of pitches. The pitch count idea is stupid, regardless of the current stress on analytics. If he is pitching good, leave him in. I can imagine the reaction of Nolan Ryan if they tried to pull that stuff on him. Roberts also removed another pitcher, I do not recall his name, who was throwing a no hitter, in one of his earliest games as manager. I have been a Dodger fan since 1949 and Roberts is, by far the worst manager they have ever had.

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