Dodgers: Is Clayton Kershaw’s Lack of Strikeouts A Concern?

It wasn’t the opener that the Dodgers were hoping for, but the 2021 regular season is officially underway.

After an 8-5 loss in Colorado to start the year, Clayton Kershaw was left wondering what went wrong for him in what was his 9th opening day start for the team. It wasn’t his efficiency, as he only threw 77 pitches over 5.2 innings. It also wasn’t his command, as 55 of those 77 pitches were in for strikes.

One thing that stood out from Kershaw’s first outing of the year was his lack of a knockout punch. Even though he managed to go almost 6 full innings, the veteran pitcher only mustered two strikeouts in a ballpark where punchouts are a must. The slider was his go-to pitch on Thursday afternoon, accounting for almost half of his total pitches, but it just didn’t have its usual bite.

“It was good enough to get ground balls today, I just didn’t get the swing and miss with it”, Kershaw said. “But you’re gonna have nights like that for sure.”

It wasn’t all bad for Kershaw, though. While the strikeouts were down, the ground ball rate was not. In total, Clayton engineered 13 ground balls outs versus just one flyout. On any other night, this would’ve meant a clean outing, but a pair of unforced errors kept him from getting out of innings with relative ease.

Related: Austin Barnes Exits Game with Apparent Hand Injury

Final Thoughts

So was the lack of strikeouts after one game concerning with Clayton Kershaw? Yes and no. You would hope for more than two on any given night from your ace, but it is still just one game. With some tweaks and adjustments, some of those ground balls will become swings and misses, leading to a box score that we are used to seeing from Clayton.

NEXT: The Cody Bellinger Home Run That Didn’t Count Gets a Jomboy Breakdown

Daniel Palma

Daniel is an avid sports fan who loves his hometown teams. If he's not watching baseball, you can find him playing or coaching. No matter what, he'll always root for the Boys in Blue!


  1. The commentators don’t seem to be mentioning velocity. It’s been down most of the spring. Was it still down the first game? The sliders are more effective if the fastball velocity is higher.

  2. The last few years he throws too many fastballs and hardly any curves, also those shifts didn’t help. After the 5th inning disaster they should’ve given up on that but instead went for it again in the 6th

  3. The fact this guy is still on the team is part of how SOFT our culture has become. This guy is way out of his prime and should have been gone years ago. He’s been carried for long enough.

    1. Don’t be ridiculous, dude. You must not remember he got Cy Young votes last year. And was 16-5 the year before and an All Star.

  4. With his velocity gone it could be a very rough year for him. Not a number 1 starter anymore.

  5. Clayton has really struggled his last two outings (preseason and opening day). Our manager should keep a short leash on him until he gets his stuff back. Any other pitcher would have gotten the hook much sooner on opening day. Clayton is struggling…he knows it and so does the team.

  6. By the way, I love Clayton Keyshawn. He gives everything for the Blue. I hope he’ll know when to step away.

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