The older Clayton Kershaw is starting to look like the old Clayton Kershaw — dominating and hard to score against.
Kershaw has built a Hall of Fame career, but at age 34 he has slipped a little from his prime years. But the Los Angeles Dodgers’ lefty has put up familiar numbers this season; he has a 5-1 record and 2.00 ERA in eight starts.
He makes his ninth start of the season Tuesday night against the host Colorado Rockies.
The Rockies will send Kyle Freeland (3-5, 4.29) to the mound in the second game of the series. Colorado won the opener, 4-0, Monday night on Chad Kuhl’s shutout.
Kershaw missed a month with a right SI joint inflammation, returning June 11 against San Francisco. He had a 1.80 ERA before going on the injured list and gave up two runs in four innings against the Giants. In his two starts since, he has allowed just two runs in 11 innings.
He is pitching well enough that manager Dave Roberts thinks he could be in the mix to start for the NL in the All-Star Game next month, which just happens to be taking place at Dodger Stadium.
“I think it would be fantastic. And I know some people have made thoughts about Julio (Urias), and being at home to Dodger Stadium with that fan base would be amazing, too,” Roberts said Monday. “But Clayton is in class certainly by himself, but he’s never been willing to take a handout so I believe that he’s going want to earn his way on this thing. If he continues to pitch well, I think it would almost be a no-brainer.”
Kershaw can further his case with a good outing against the Rockies, with whom he very familiar. In 44 career starts against Colorado, he is 24-9 with a 3.32 ERA.
Freeland knows L.A. well but doesn’t have the same amount of experience as Kershaw does with the Rockies. Freeland is 3-8 with a 4.42 ERA in 17 career starts against the Dodgers and is 2-5 with a 5.29 ERA in home starts against them.
Freeland last faced them on Opening Day, lasting just 3 2/3 innings in the loss.
Colorado got a boost Monday night with Kris Bryant’s return to the lineup. Bryant had played just two games since April 25 due to a low back strain but was activated off the 10-day injured list before the game.
He hit a ball to the warning track in his first at-bat and singled his second time to the plate. He needed just one rehab start, Friday night for Triple-A Albuquerque, to get ready for his return.
He returned from the injured list on May 21 but wasn’t right, so after two games he was out again. This time he feels better than he did in late May.
“Just simple bending over and putting my shoes on or any of that, I don’t wince at that anymore,” Bryant said. “When I can do that, and really feel I can go out there and play, that’s a good feeling. That’s the key test point for me throughout this whole thing – how I feel when I put my shoes on.”
–Field Level Media