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.
Dave Roberts said Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to throw a bullpen tomorrow. He also said Kershaw will probably make another rehab start. He said Kershaw was 88-91 last night, “a tick up” from spring training.
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) April 5, 2019
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.
[button link=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/dodgers-week-one-analysis-rick-and-the-blue-heaven-boys-episode-49-blue-heaven-podcast/2019/04/05/” type=”big” color=”red”] DODGERS WEEK ONE ANALYSIS: RICK AND THE BLUE HEAVEN BOYS | EPISODE 49 | BLUE HEAVEN PODCAST[/button]