October 30, 2014

Kershaw Getting Set for Full Season in the Bigs

Ramona Shelburne has a nice article on Clayton Kershaw in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.  It’s a nice look at the story of the man behind the uniform and his life away from baseball.  Here’s a quick excerpt about Kershaw’s high school career that I hadn’t heard before:

In his senior year he went 12-0 and struck out 139 batters in 64 innings. Then on one May afternoon, Kershaw did something that should be included in every story ever written about him: he struck out all 15 batters he faced in a five-inning perfect game. The Dodgers just so happened to have sent a scout out to watch him that day.

I know all Dodger fans can’t wait to see what kind of pitcher the kid develops into in 2009.  One thing’s for sure: it’s going to be special.

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).

Kershaw to Start on Saturday?

The kid was pulled from his start tonight after only one inning (striking out two). Hmm.  It kind of makes you wonder, doesn’t it?  It makes Ken Gurnick wonder too!

Personally, I’m hoping Kershaw starts Sunday, as Dodgerfan will be at the Ravine for a little Sunday baseball.  Maybe we can arrange a little Dodger Blogger Reunion over some adult beverages with our pals Sax and Orel from Sons of Steve Garvey and Erin from Beantown West.

Kershaw is Filthy, Filthy, Filthy

I caught the weekend’s games on TV, and I’ve got to say, it was great to hear Vin Scully back behind the microphone.  I’m  really getting psyched for the start of the season.  A few highlights: Loaiza looked strong.  He got lucky to make his way out of a few jams, but he was playing the Red Sox.  He was in a bit of a pickle in the first, but he managed to shut down Ortiz, Ramirez and Lowell and lay four K’s in three innings.  A great rebound.

The only thing more impressive (other than Kemp’s crushing of a home run off Dice K into the Holman Stadium parking lot) was Clayton Kershaw.  That kid can flat out pitch.  He may be the Dodgers’ #1 draft pick in the 2006 draft, but I think he could be up in the bigs very, very soon.  He had one just filthy curveball on Sean Casey (or “public enemy #1″ as Vin likes to call the big curve) that made Vin just sit back and laugh.  Check it out here (it’s worth a look).  The thing was a monster.  Before he took down Casey, he silenced  World Series MVP Lowell and JD Drew.  In 10 pitches.  Wow.  Did I mention he throws 97 miles per hour?  Filthy, filthy stuff.

Word is that Torre says Kershaw has zero chance of making the big league team, but with performances like that, he could be destined for the majors very, very soon.  So do you thinks it’s just coincidence that he followed Loaiza in the game today?  Or maybe a message for the presumed #5 starter to get his act together.  Regardless of what happens by opening day, the future of the Dodgers pitching staff certainly looks bright.


Photo from www.ladugout.com