Clayton Kershaw is set to take the mound just as this publishes and his first start in 11 days comes with a lot of intrigue. The long time Dodgers ace has been working through some physical and mechanical issues since late June that has led to diminished velocity and stuff. Those issues were magnified in his most recent start where he averaged just 88.2 mph on his fastball while struggling with his command of the baseball.
Through his problems, Kershaw has still been able to prevent runs from scoring, but he certainly hasn’t made it easy on himself with an uncharacteristic 8 walks over his last 10 innings.
The Dodgers have twice pushed starts back for Clayton, lining him up for this Saturday evening in Seattle. Before the game, manager Dave Roberts talked about what he’s expecting out of the left-hander, as shared by Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times.
The team is looking for command over stuff and will treat the outing almost like a ramp up for the postseason.
Dodgers pitching coach Mark Prior recently told the Times that they were working on some mechanical changes with Kershaw, specifically in his delivery that will “hopefully free him up to maximize and get his timing back.” Kershaw missed 44 days with a shoulder injury earlier this summer.
While Roberts is seemingly a little less concerned about tonight’s outing, Clayton himself is feeling less than confident, stopping short of even including himself in the postseason rotation at the moment.
Looking at the schedule, Kershaw should be able to get in three more starts (including tonight) before the end of the regular season.
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