Clayton Kershaw Gets the Bump

kershawvsangels.jpgFrom the comments of the last thread

Posted by montana, June 21, 2009 9:08 PM

kershaw riding the msti bump!!

Looks like I’m on a streak! Okay, I didn’t really offer Clayton Kershaw any advice before yesterday’s game other than saying he’d be next on the list, so I don’t know how much credit I can claim. My involvement (or complete lack of it) aside, that doesn’t change the fact that last night’s game might be one you look back on as a huge turning point in young Kershaw’s career. 

It’s not the best start of his career, or even his season – hard to top that 13 K, 1 hit game vs. the Giants in April – but it may be the most meaningful. Think about it; you’ve got a 21-year-old, just a start removed from lasting only 2.2 innings against the woeful Padres. You’ve got him on the road against a top American League team, and if even their offense isn’t what it was, guys like Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu, and Vladimir Guerrero are no joke. On top of all of it, it’s the ESPN national game (and if I were to outline all of the stupid things I heard those guys say yesterday, this column would be 10,000 words. Hey, Jon Miller – I like that you know what “OPS” is, but it doesn’t rhyme with “cops”, you dink.)

Really, the bottom of the 5th is what really made this night for Kershaw. After getting through the first four relatively unscathed (thanks to some fantastic defense by James Loney), things completely went off the rails. Doesn’t get much worse than loading the bases with no outs on two walks, a botched throw on a sacrifice bunt, and a wild pitch, does it? As those things were entirely Kershaw’s doing, you could almost imagine what was going through the minds of the guys behind him. Something unprintable, most likely. Especially with Abreu, Hunter, and Vlad coming up… yet Kershaw got out of it on a double play grounder and a pop up. In the past, that inning could have easily been the end of both him and the game, once his wildness showed up, because he’s yet to prove that he can overcome that when it pops up.

Well, last night, he did, and if this is a turning point for him, we can look back at that inning and say it was huge.

As could be completely expected from someone so young and so talented, Kershaw now has three of the top eight – and three of the bottom six – starting performances this year by a Dodger based on game score. I think we’re all pretty happy with his performance so far in 2009; imagine how we’ll feel when he manages to avoid those occasional disaster starts as well?

In other news, Jeff Kent is completely dead to me. I know, I know, he’s going into the Hall of Fame as a Giant. Don’t care. Dead to me.