For the second straight start, Clayton Kershaw failed to impress.
While Kershaw’s stats for Monday’s game look horrendous, there was still plenty of upside in his performance. Kershaw looked like the pitcher of old through the first two innings of the game. The 2013 Cy Young winner retired six straight batters and struck out Jed Lowrie on a wicked curveball to end the first inning.
Kershaw’s problems began in the third inning where he walked three batters, surrendered two hits and gave up three runs without recording an out. Brandon League entered the game in relief and quickly allowed Kershaw’s remaining two base runners to score.
Even with two mediocre performances under his belt, Dodger fans have no need to worry about Kershaw’s disappointing start to spring training.
Kershaw had the worst spring training of his career in 2013, ending the preseason with a 4.18 ERA and eight walks in 28 innings pitched. Kershaw went on to have his best statistical regular season that year, posting a 1.82 ERA and winning his second National League Cy Young Award.
It’s far from enjoyable to see the Dodgers’ ace go through these early struggles, but fans need to remember that spring training has almost no importance. It is simply a place where players can get in shape, work through whatever rust they’ve accumulated during the offseason and try to add new wrinkles to their game.
Don’t worry, Dodger fans; Kershaw will be back to his old ways in a very short while.