April 24, 2014

Kershaw Solid in Debut

Rookie Sensation Clayton Kershaw

Whether Clayton Kershaw is the second coming of Sandy Koufax, Fernando Valenzuela or whomever, one thing’s for certain: the kid looked legitimate in his debut today. Here’s his line:

Pitcher

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

PC-ST

ERA

Kershaw

6.0

5

2

2

1

7

0

102-69

3.00

Vin accurately noted during the telecast that Kershaw really settled down after the first inning and got into a nice rhythm from the 2nd through the 5th with seven strikeouts. Here’s his pitch count by inning:

1st inning: 32 pitches (striking out the side)

2nd inning: 12 pitches

3rd inning: 10 pitches

4th inning: 11 pitches

5th inning: 10 pitches

6th inning: 27 pitches

While we didn’t see “The Pitch” (which Vin described simply as “filthy”), we did see a very mature 20 year-old that has a number of pitches at his disposal and one who doesn’t panic when under pressure. I’m not sure how long he’s going to be up with the Club for more than a cup of coffee, but Dodger fans should be very encouraged by his performance today.

Kershaw, who spent time during spring training with the Dodgers and pitched in the final exhibition game against Boston, was 0-3 with a 2.28 ERA for Jacksonville in minor league play this season and had 47 strikeouts in 43 1-3 innings. During spring training, he gave up one run over 14 innings and struck out 19 while with the Dodgers.

Despite the “no decision” game for Kershaw today, he definitely has a lot to be proud of. Torre and Honneycutt let him throw 102 pitches in his debut, including a 32-pitch first inning, without getting rattled – despite the first run that quickly hit the scoreboard.

“It looked in the first inning like he was going to run into some problems with (pitch) count,” said Hal McRae. “But after that he started mixing in his change-up and getting some quick outs. I was impressed.” Clearly no classic McRae phone throwing was to be had today ;)

Dodgers closer Takashi Saito (3-1) picked up the win with five Ks in two innings, including striking out the side in order in the 10th.

Oh, by the way, if you’re curious when his next start would be, that’s this Friday in New York City against the Mets. No pressure there, right?

Check out some of Kershaw’s post-game comments over at Blue Notes (and are we sure Kershaw’s not 30? He sounds way too mature to be 20).