Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers starting rotation has failed to provide length this past week, and perhaps the most surprising of those short performances have been from Clayton Kershaw.
The 35-year-old threw just four innings against the Minnesota Twins and followed that up by getting through only 3.2 against the St. Louis Cardinals, which marked the shortest start Kershaw has made since 2021.
Kershaw may be affected by pitching through grief after the passing of his mother on May 13, so it’s fair to expect him to not be on the top of his game. The future Hall of Famer may also just have been due for some natural regression while facing two quality lineups after how well he pitched in April.
Whether there is a cause for his struggles or not, Kershaw doesn’t believe there is a particular reason and acknowledged he just needs to improve, via SportsNet LA:
“I just haven’t been pitching very good. It’s nothing specific, just haven’t been pitching well. So, frustrating. Not a great time with guys going down. Obviously, you’d like to give some length. Disappointing. Feel like you let the guys down, especially the bullpen. There’s really nothing to say, except just pitch better next time.”
Kershaw did have a strong first inning, striking out two batters en route to retiring the side in order, before trouble started in the second when he allowed three runs:
“I don’t think anything changed. Just didn’t make good pitches.”
Three of the four runs Kershaw allowed were driven in by Óscar Mercado, who doubled in the second inning and singled in the fourth. While those were the at-bats that did the damage, Kershaw pointed to walks as the reason Mercado was put in those situations:
“I don’t really point to those at-bats. I point to the walks before with two-outs were the problems. He hit a good pitch 0-2. Probably too many pitches in a row. Maybe I should’ve done something different. He put a good swing on it, so you’ve got to give him credit. The other one was just a ground ball, there’s really nothing you can do about that one. The stuff before that is what’s unacceptable. Two-out walks and letting innings fester instead of being able to get three outs quickly.”
Over his last two starts, Kershaw has allowed six runs in just 7.2 innings, so the Dodgers will need him to get back on track soon as the ace of the pitching staff. His importance to the rotation is all the more imperative with Dustin May and Julio Urías both on the 15-day injured list.
Overall on the season, Kershaw still has an impressive 2.98 ERA across 57.1 innings with a 1.10 WHIP and 69 strikeouts.
Clayton Kershaw going on bereavement list
Kershaw will make his next start against the Tampa Bay Rays in the second game of their series, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the southpaw will first go on the bereavement list to attend a service for his mother.
MLB roster rules require a player who was put on the bereavement list to be away from the team a minimum of three days, but no more than seven.
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