As one of the greatest pitchers of his era, Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw has 15 years of MLB experience in which he’s received many accolades worthy of a Hall of Fame career. One accomplishment the three-time Cy Young-winning MVP has never done, is pitch a perfect game.
He does have a no-hitter, coming back in 2014, but never the holy grail. Unfortunately, that won’t change after today’s effort, but he sure got close.
Taking the mound against the Minnesota Twins for the first time in his career, Kershaw was making his first appearance of the 2022 baseball season. Even though he technically took the ball as the fifth starter for the Dodgers, his performance was anything but.
- Clayton Kershaw stat line: 7 IP, 13 K, 53/80 pitches for strikes
The best of all? Zero hits and zero earned runs. Kershaw was pulled after the seventh inning.
Sure, had it not been the first start of a long season, maybe we would have seen Dodgers manager Dave Roberts leave the 2011 Triple Crown winner in a bit longer, possibly allowing him to go the full game. Of course, they didn’t want to risk injury in just the fifth game of their season.
For what it’s worth, the Dodgers didn’t end up completing the effort for a perfect game. Catcher Gary Sanchez finally knocked in a single in the bottom of the eighth inning with one out. Could Kershaw have done differently? It’s certainly possible. His slider had batters missing all day.
In the end, the Dodgers kept Kershaw healthy for another start, which, in their mind, keeps them on pace to win the World Series as their manager already guaranteed.