Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw has been outstanding this year. While his raw stuff isn’t the same as when he was winning three Cy Young Awards in four years, the results on the field would fit right in with those peak years. After allowing one run in six innings in his most recent outing on Monday, his 2.39 ERA is slightly better than his 2.49 career mark, which is the best in the live-ball era for a pitcher with at least 1,500 innings pitched.
For Kershaw, the only question this year has been his health. Back problems have landed him on the injured list twice this season, but when he’s been active, he’s been outstanding. In fact, if you could take out his two starts in Colorado — and yes, we know you can’t just do that, but a guy can dream — his ERA is 1.82 everywhere else this year.
So now, the goal is to remain healthy to and through the postseason. As J.P. Hoornstra writes in the Orange County Register, Kershaw is feeling good about his health right now.
“Physically I feel great,” he said. “I’m in a good spot. This will be my first time on regular rest, pitching coming up against a good team in the Cardinals. That will be a good challenge, obviously. Got a couple more until October, so that’s good.”
As Kershaw mentioned, his start today will be his first on the regular four days rest since coming off the IL on September 1. Overall, it will be just the fifth of his 20 starts to come on four days rest.
Kershaw had two straight starts against the DBacks, and his final two starts of the season will likely come in the season-ending six-game series with the Rockies. Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts likes that preparation for the postseason, when Kershaw is likely to see the same team twice in a series.
“How (Kershaw) exploited some weaknesses and used his entire arsenal tonight allows for unpredictability,” Roberts said. “When you talk about the postseason, people rely on predictability in game-planning. A guy like Clayton who’s got four pitches, to kind of use different quadrants and lanes keeps guys on their toes.”
At this stage in Kershaw’s career, health will always be the number one question. Hopefully, he can stay healthy and help bring home another World Series title.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube Channel yet? Subscribe and hit that notification bell to stay up to date on all the latest Dodgers news, rumors, interviews, live streams, and more!