USA Updates Clayton Kershaw is considering the perfect game against the Twins
LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw woke up Thursday morning ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ sold-out home opener at Dodger Stadium, and will be totally honest with you.
He thought about it.
Maybe, he thought too much about it.
The future Hall of Famer had a chance at baseball immortality Wednesday, and he and manager Dave Roberts passed, deciding not to extend the start of his season in Minnesota, even if it meant becoming the 24th pitcher in baseball history. Had to walk away from the spot. right game.
If it was a no-hitter, it wouldn’t have been a big deal. There are plenty of them – 314 to be exact – including one by them.
But a perfect game?
There hasn’t been a throw since the Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez in 2012,
Kershaw refuses to second-guess himself, and Roberts has no regrets, but Kershaw might be lying to you if he didn’t at least wonder if he should have stayed in the game.
“The only thing I feel bad for,” said Kershaw, “if I was a fan, I’d want to see someone finish the game. …if I was bringing my son to the game and running a perfect game.” That’s why you come to the games, to watch something special. So, from a fan’s perspective, I get it. I feel bad for it. It’s hard to swallow.
“I wish I could do this.
“but [Wednesday] It was not a day.”
Kershaw, who retired all 21 batsmen he faced with 13 strikeouts, was on 80 pitches at the end of the seventh innings. He had not bowled the last five innings and 75 pitches in the entire spring. He missed the final six weeks of last season with a tender shoulder and elbow. He didn’t even pick up baseball until January.
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Everything in the world told him he was done for the day against the Minnesota Twins, and there was no point risking injury for personal glory, not the chance of perhaps winning one last World Series.
“To be honest, the way my season ended last year, I wasn’t able to be a part of October,” Kershaw said, “that’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m back to make up for it. Whatever we do.” also decide he is prepared for that month of the season.
So would he certainly risk serious injury by pitching a perfect game, throwing at least 110 pitches?
“I could bowl nine innings and be fine for the rest of the season,” Kershaw said. “I could have bowled two innings, and got injured the next day. Nobody knows.
“But at this point in time, it felt like it was the right call in my personal health, the best interests of the team, and getting ready in October.
“It all seemed like the right call at the time.”
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Roberts knew it was the right move, and said he couldn’t live with himself if Kershaw ended up having hand problems since the Hall of Famer first perfect game by the Dodgers to try. Sandy Koufax in 1965,
Roberts is aware that the decision angered fans, and he became the butt of the joke.
Who is the only person who has ever broken two perfect games?
Roberts, who also pulled off Rich Hill after six innings, ended 2016 with a perfect game, although he had blister problems at the time.
“I’m not on social media,” Roberts said, “but I can only imagine what was out there.”
Oh no you’re not.
“People,” said Kershaw, with a smile, “there were a lot of opinions.”
everyone from Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson From Little League coaches to keyboard warriors were destroying Roberts.
“It comes from fans who are passionate and passionate, which I respect,” Roberts said. “I love that they’re talking about baseball, which is the best sport ever.
“All I have to ask is that you know that when you do mine, you have to answer for the consequences. But fans are going to be fans, and they have every right to have their opinion.”
Roberts could not come out and say publicly that Kershaw wanted to come out of the game when the seventh inning ended, knowing that 80 pitches was more than enough. He did not want to talk about Kershav’s past injuries. And he certainly didn’t want to reveal any secrets in his decision to remove Hill.
“Look,” said Roberts quietly on the field before Thursday’s game, “I’m not the Grim Reaper.”
Just try not to convince passionate baseball fans otherwise Dodger fans mix in booze with cheers during Roberts’ pregame introduction, while Kershaw was greeted with a rumble in the Dodgers’ home opener.
“Fans want to see great moments,” Roberts said. “Clayton wants to see great moments. But I can’t manage ballclubs and players with fan caps.”
If Kershaw was 24 and not 34, says Roberts. Had it been his second or third start of the season, he might have let him go. Had he not gone without making 30 starts or playing 200 innings since 2015, he would have sat back and cheered on history.
“We all want great players to do great things,” Roberts said. “But everything has a cost and I was not prepared, and Clayton was not ready to take that cost.”
But, man, oh man, it sure must be sweet checking that perfect game on a resume that includes three Cy Young Awards.
“It’s a special thing,” Kershaw said. “I don’t take it lightly. I understand the history of the game. I understand what that means in the game of baseball.
“The personal stuff is not that I continue to play the game. I want to win It just personalizes nothing to me.
“Hopefully, when we win the World Series in October, it will mean something.”
If not, well, we’ll all be left wondering, “What if?” That chilly 38-degree afternoon in Minneapolis when Kershaw was so close to perfection.
Follow Bob Nightingale on Twitter @Bnightengale,