You can call long-time Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw a lot of things this year… resurgent, dominant, an ace… just don’t call him vintage. Bad setup aside, Kersh has had a great bounce-back season after struggling with health among other maladies over the last few campaigns.
Now approaching 33-years-old, number 22 did what few have done in baseball in the past. He regained velocity on his fastball. And with that, he re-established himself on the NL Cy Young scene once again.
As has been well documented, the left-hander visited the analytics-focused Driveline Baseball last offseason where, with the use of some of the more modern tech, he learned a thing or two about himself. On that note, ahead of his NLDS game 2 start, an introspective Kershaw offered up some advice that he had taken earlier in his career.
I guess the one piece of advice I wish I would have followed earlier in my career was, being stubborn was good because it’s what got you here, and having a routine is important, but just be open to different things. And it doesn’t hurt to try and just go back to what you’ve always done if you don’t like it.
Clayton is notoriously in his own world on his start days. He’d also been someone more closed off to the rapidly changing landscape of baseball. At least that’s the perception he’s given in the past. And it makes sense how that would happen. For the first 12 seasons of his career, he worked with one pitching coach in Rick Honeycutt. However, this past offseason, Honeycutt decided to hang it up and fall back to a cushy front office role (one significantly reduced by the pandemic).
In his first season with Mark Prior as his primary pitching coach, Kershaw was introduced to a new world of tech designed to literally make him better. With Prior, the coaching staff for pitchers expanded to include the likes assistant pitching coach Connor McGuiness and coordinator Rob Hill, giving Kersh better access to that new tech.
And it seems like he quickly realized that the new guys had his best interest in mind.
Try to listen to the right people, and try to find who the right people are. Fortunately for me, I’ve got a great group of people around me with the Dodgers as far as, like, cutting edge things and new wave technology and things to make you get better… they’re pretty special about that.
Clayton Kershaw takes the hill for the Dodgers in game 2 of the NLDS against the Padres. In his previous postseason start, he tossed 8 shutout innings against the Milwaukee Brewers at Dodger Stadium. Moreover, the ace will be making his first career start close to his hometown of Dallas, Texas.