Dodgers 7, Twins 0: Clayton Kershaw, correctly, pulled after 7 perfect innings

We all wanted it. Dave Roberts probably wanted it. Alas, it wasn’t to be. Despite retiring the first 21 hitters Clayton Kershaw faced in his season debut, he was removed from a perfect game bid.

And you know what? That’s OK, even if it may have been his last, best chance at a perfect game.

If you were told prior to the game you’d get this line from Kershaw…

  • 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 13 K, 80 pitches

…you’d have taken it all day and not been upset he was pulled.

Kershaw was making his season debut and isn’t the Kershaw of 2014-17 anymore. He pitched like it, but physically, he isn’t that guy anymore. Plus, with the Dodgers’ fragile rotation, it’s probably best not to overwork your 34-year-old starter in his first start of the season who’s coming off (non-COVID) career-low 121 2/3 innings in 2021. Especially at this stage of his career.

It’s also not the first time Roberts has had to make this decision with a left-handed pitcher with injury concerns (hi, Rich Hill) — and it was the correct decision then, too.

Yes, it would have been awesome. Hell, he could have needed only six more pitches to get the job done (highly unlikely), but we just need to appreciate what we saw today and every start we are privileged to watch in his illustrious career.

Now, onto the highlights.

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The Twins couldn’t touch Kershaw’s slider all day.

In fact, they had a hard time getting to anything from Kersh.

Decent.

https://twitter.com/PitchingNinja/status/1514315921548103685

Pretty good changeup here.

And this was the last out recorded by Kershaw on the day.

Good on you, Gavin Lux.

Alex Vesia gave up a single in the eighth inning to Gary Sanchez, but that was it for the Twins’ offense.

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Oh, and there was some offense for the Dodgers, too.

Good to see Cody Bellinger making some good contact. Also, Austin Barnes leads the Dodgers in home runs through the season’s first week.

Max Muncy, still good.

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The Dodgers move to 3-2 with the win. They’ll crack the seal on Dodger Stadium in 2022 tomorrow night against the Cincinnati Redlegs. Walker Buehler will take on Reiver Sanmartin (80-grade name). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Pacific time.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.