So far, after six days of MLB games, we had seen some pitchers finish with stellar lines over five or six innings.
It’s natural: spring training just ended, and most hurlers aren’t fully stretched out after a short training camp.
However, Clayton Kershaw is definitely not like most pitchers.
The Los Angeles Dodgers‘ star southpaw completed the best game thrown by an MLB pitcher this year: seven perfect innings against the Minnesota Twins.
One of the greatest performances from one of the greatest pitchers ever
What a day for Clayton Kershaw
7 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 13 K pic.twitter.com/jvgmGtDxGp
— Blake Harris (@BlakeHarrisTBLA) April 13, 2022
That’s right: he didn’t allow any hits, walks, or anything like that: no baserunner touched first base against Kershaw today.
Unfortunately, he used 80 pitches to complete seven innings: in a perfect world that would be enough for a manager to leave him on the mound to go for the perfect game.
Manager Dave Roberts Would Have Risked Too Much By Leaving Kershaw In
However, it was Kershaw’s first start of the year, and there was no way Dave Roberts, the Dodgers’ skipper, would have left him on the mound with the chance of reaching or surpassing 100 pitches; certainly not after missing weeks of action in 2021 with forearm issues.
Kershaw, who already threw a no-hitter in 2014, pitched only 121.2 frames last year for the Dodgers and was limited down the stretch.
He showed in spring training that the injury is indeed behind him, but there is no point in keeping him active and risking another injury, or a re-aggravation of his arm woes.
Roberts was wildly criticized by some, but in the end, time will prove it was the right call.
He needs Kershaw healthy for the whole year, not just one start so he could pursue a perfect game.
Yes, having a perfect game is unique, but Los Angeles needs him in one piece.
For now, we will enjoy Kershaw’s utterly dominant performance today, one that included 13 strikeouts against a good lineup.