Clayton Kershaw’s postseason struggles have been well-documented for the better half of the decade. But…that was old Kershaw. As he has hit the plateau of 30 years of age and his fastball velocity has rapidly declined, Kershaw has been forced to reinvent himself. This…is a new Kershaw.
According to a recent column by Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, the organization — including Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt — believe in Kershaw again this October. While both men have always believed in the generational left-hander, there is something different about it this time around.
Here is the link to DiGiovanna’s column for the Los Angeles Times:
#Dodgers MGR Dave Roberts is convinced that LHP Clayton Kershaw, despite a six-start skid and first-inning struggles, will be "locked and loaded when the bell rings for the postseason,” But there are plenty of LAD fans who wonder: Is that faith warranted? https://t.co/UoMGhm4fxm
— Mike DiGiovanna (@MikeDiGiovanna) September 24, 2019
Dave Roberts on Kershaw
While Clayton Kershaw has been dominant as of late — allowing four earned runs across six innings in his last start against the Rockies — Roberts is keeping faith.
“With Clayton, I feel really good that when the bell rings for the postseason he’s gonna be locked and loaded. For me, if he’s feeling strong, I’ll trust that the results will be there.”
Kershaw boasts an uncharacteristic 5.24 ERA over his last six starts.
Kershaw’s cold stretch has been marked by his susceptibility to surrendering the home run ball. He has allowed a whopping THIRTEEN dingers in his past six starts.
“Yeah, he’s given up some solo homers, but when he needs to limit damage, he does that. When he needs to make a pitch, he does that. Clayton is going to be more than fine.”
All in all, though, Roberts is keeping faith in the former consensus best pitcher in the game and for good reason. His track record more than warrants it.
“I wish I had an explanation, but the way Clayton goes about things and prepares, he’s an easy guy to know that once the postseason starts, he’ll be ready and he’s going to perform.”
Honey is also keeping faith in Kersh, as you would expect. The two men have worked side by side for Kershaw’s entire major league career.
“If anything, if you think about it too much it becomes more in your head than what you want. If there was any one thing that jumped out, we would address it. He obviously knows what he’s doing. He’s been good at it for a long time. He’s just trying to get better every time he goes out.”
Honeycutt also discussed the need for Kershaw to stay on a distinct schedule and that September has not exactly allowed him to do that. Kershaw holds a 2.35 ERA in eight starts on normal rest this season, as opposed to a 4.07 ERA in twelve starts when receiving an extra day of rest.
“With a guy like Clayton, sometimes the extra rest is not always the best thing. Because we had the luxury of doing it, we made sure he had the extra day for a long time. Then you turn around, and he hasn’t pitched for a week twice. Today’s player, we get into our own rhythm, our schedule, and then when you get out of that just a little bit, it can disrupt you. There’s no perfect world, I guess, is what I’m saying.”
Dave believes. Honey believes. Should we?