Quick Bit: The LA ace was dominant against the overmatched Angels. There was zero chance of Dodgers manager Dave Roberts taking him out prematurely this time.
Clayton Kershaw got a second chance at perfection in 2022. This time, he was given a real opportunity to achieve it.
And while the Dodgers ace couldn’t seal the deal, he did make a small bit of baseball history.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became the first MLB pitcher in 60-plus years to throw at least seven perfect innings more than once in a season.
He was cruising toward the 24th perfect game in MLB history Friday night when Angels infielder Luis Rengifo lined a double to left field to lead off the bottom of the eighth. A slider got too much of the plate.
To that point, he looked like a near-lock to pull it off. He struck out Shohei Ohtani with a wicked curveball in the seventh. In the end, he settled for retiring the first 21 Angels batters.
The first game this year in which Kershaw went 21 up, 21 down produced a huge controversy. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pulled him from that game against the Twins after seven innings and 80 pitches. Kershaw was making his season debut on a cold day, he was coming off an arm injury and he had to prepare for the year in an abbreviated spring training due to the lockout.
Kershaw supported Roberts’ decision publicly, and he expressed hope he’d get to run it back at some point.
“Sure, I would have loved to do it, but maybe we’ll get another chance — who knows?” he told reporters.
Friday was that chance, and there was zero probability of Roberts taking him out while he was still perfect. He had thrown 71 pitches in these first seven frames.
Of course, after Rengifo’s hit, Roberts was free to pull Kershaw without worry, especially with the Dodgers up big.
Kershaw retired the Angels in the eighth and left the game to a standing ovation from a bunch of Dodgers fans in Anaheim.
Roberts handed the ball to Reyes Moronta, who got the final three outs to finish a 9-1 Dodgers win in the opener of their weekend Freeway Series.
Kershaw, meanwhile, is strolling into the All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium with a 7-2 record and 2.13 ERA in 12 starts, plus the thrill of being close to perfect — again.
Originally found on Sporting News Read More