Kershaw Reminded Us He’s Still King Last Night

In case you forgot, Clayton Kershaw is still the lord of the plains. Perched on top of baseball’s Mount Olympus like a vulture waiting every 5 days to swoop down and hunt his prey. Opening day against the Rockies there was a role reversal and he was the one being hunted after giving up 5 earned runs (6 total), 10 hits and 2 strikeouts in 5 ⅔ innings.

Yes it was at Coors Field where pitchers typically get chewed up and spit out, but many fans saw this as the initial indicator of the end. 7 innings, 1 earned run and 8 strikeouts last night against the A’s was his way of telling the haters to stick their opinion where the sun don’t shine. 

Tuesday night against the Oakland Athletics was the perfect situation for Kershaw to get back on track. The A’s have been flat out abysmal to start the year. They got swept by the Astros and the run differential in the series was 35-9. After last night’s game no one on the team has more than 2 RBI’s while the Dodgers currently have 7-yikes. 

On top of a garbage offense, Oakland Coliseum is widely regarded as one of the most pitcher friendly parks in the majors. Deep fences tall as skyscrapers and a foul territory that could fit Allegiant stadium in between the chalk and bleachers keeps balls in play for potential outs. 

No one was more thankful for the skyscrapers bordering the warning track than Kershaw last night. With one out in the first, Jed Lowrie hit a double off the top of the left field wall and was brought home after Ramon Laureano doubled to right. From then on Kershaw picked up wind in his sails and returned to the form we’ve been accustomed to. 

Granted it was the A’s, but there was a drastic difference in swing and misses between the two starts. Against the Rockies on Opening Day he had 6 swinging strikes, but last night he had 21, the most in a regular season game since 2017. No two ways about it he was nasty. The signature slider that got knocked around in Coors, was swooping below bats at the last second. Curves that looked like belt high fast balls ended up in the dirt to the hitters dismay. 

https://twitter.com/BlakeHarrisTBLA/status/1379811946061438976?s=20

When you’ve been at the top for so long the only place you can go is down. He’s walking with a shadow of paranoia behind him because you know the end will come, but not when. 3 bad starts in a row gives fans the nervousness of backing their car on a hectic day at Costco. 6 or 7 consecutive bad outings results in paranoia akin to Tony Soprano when he finds out close associates are walking around with a wire. 

The Dark Knight feeling truly is a simultaneous honor and horror. 

Follow Matt for more questionable takes on the Dodgers and sports in general on Twitter @mattweiner20