We saw vintage Clayton Kershaw on Sunday afternoon during the Dodger’s 3-0 win over the Dbacks in Arizona. In the victory Kershaw looked like the pitcher of his glory days as he tossed 5.2 innings of shutout ball. Kershaw issued no walks, just three hits and struck out six. His pitches were sharp and we were taken back to the days when he was the most dominating pitcher in baseball and we all looked forward to his starts every week.
Kershaw made 81 pitches and probably could have made more. The Dodgers understandably didn’t want to push him. Kershaw was unable to make his customary opening day start against the Giants due to another back injury. For the record he’s had chronic back problems over the past several years. This injury was a fluke one, due to heavy lifting in the weight room. That’s another aspect that makes Kershaw so great. He keeps himself in such great physical shape. His injuries have mostly been from overuse and over extending himself.
That’s because he is a fiery competitor. It was great to see Kershaw pick up the win in the series finale. The last time we Kershaw pitch was at Dodger Stadium in the top of the eighth inning during that infamous NLDS game 5 against the Nationals. He had given up consecutive home runs to Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto and walked off the mound with his head down amidst a chorus of boos. It was a sad sight to see.
Last Sunday we saw Kershaw’s trademark curveball sweep across the plate. His slider had bite. His fastball had increased velocity and movement. The best part is that it all looked effortless for him. He was in control the entire game. Pitching depth is a bit thin after David Price opted out, and Alex Wood was a predictable injured list resident. The Dodgers are going to need a healthy and productive Kershaw if they are going to make it this year. A vintage Kershaw would be the best.