Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers’ ace, reiterates that it was the right decision to take him out of his perfect game

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton KershawOn Thursday morning, he woke up and wondered what could have happened.

Kershaw stated that “but at the end-of-the day, in this moment, it felt like a right decision.” “I can't go back now.”

Kershaw was pulled with only six outs remainingHe was on the verge of winning his first perfect game in his long and distinguished career. He had only thrown 80 pitches and had already recorded 13 strikeouts by the time he was done. Minnesota TwinsThe bottom of the seventh

He was also making his season debut, following a short spring training. This came on the heels of a winter in which he didn’t touch a ball until January and a season where he missed October due to an elbow injury.

Kershaw publicly defended his decision following Wednesday's road trip final and struck a similar tone Thursday before the Dodgers’ home opener. But, he also admitted that a younger version could have handled it differently.

His manager was also in agreement.

Dave Roberts declared, “Absolutely.” “Clayton has been a tremendous ballplayer and man. His life has changed completely. It's easy to say that he would have reacted differently.

Kershaw, now 34 years old, is the second major league player to complete seven innings without being thrown out. He was his former teammate. Rich HillAfter he threw 89 pitches over seven innings against the Tigers, he suffered the same fate. Miami MarlinsSeptember 10, 2016, at 10:10 a.m. Hill was also taken out by Roberts. Roberts was trying to protect him from continuing blister issues but later claimed he felt “sticky stomach” about the choice.

Roberts seemed to be more at ease with Kershaw's case.

He stated, “I like to think we're all baseball fans.” “I know that I am. Fans want to see great moments. That is something I can totally understand. Clayton wants to be a part of a great moment in his life. However, I cannot manage a team and its players while wearing my fan cap.”

Many others strongly disagreed, most of them via social media. Roberts' decision, despite the circumstances, was widely seen as an indication of why casual fans continue to avoid baseball in modern times. He argued that the over-protection and exploitation of starting pitchers, much like advanced analytics, has continuously stripped the sport from its soul.

Roberts was the opposing side in a similar debate that took place on October 27, 2020. Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash removed Blake SnellWhile he was working on World Series Game 6, he watched the Dodgers win against his bullpen.

Kershaw stated, “If I were a fan, then I would like to see someone finish the game.” “As a fan, it's very disappointing. It would have been so easy. Yesterday wasn't the day.”

Kershaw spent the second half of last season recovering from pain in his elbow. He suffered a setback early in his recovery. After making four starts in September, Kershaw returned to the game. However, he felt similar discomfort in October's second inning, days before the start on the postseason. He stood solemnly on the Dodger Stadium mound and did not pitch again that season. Atlanta BravesThe National League Championship Series was won largely by their starting staff who were running on fumes.

Many people in the sport were wondering if Kershaw might be retiring until he signed a $17 million, one-year contract with the Dodgers. This was almost immediately after Kershaw's March 11th lockout was lifted. After making four Cactus League appearances, he pitched five innings in a workout on April 7, and felt great. However, he didn't exceed 75 pitches in any of the outings.

Kershaw was asked what kind of risk he would have taken by trying to complete the perfect game. I could have thrown nine innings and been okay for the rest. I could have thrown two more innings yesterday and not be injured the next day. We don't know. However, at the time, I felt that it was the right decision for my personal health and the best interests of the team. All seemed to be in my favor at the time.

Kershaw, who is a three-time Cy Young Award winner, one-time MVP and a former Cy Young Award winner, had a no-hitter in June 2014. He would have been a perfect player that day but for Hanley Ramirez's errant throw. Kershaw was able to throw his fastball at an average speed of 91.8 mph on Wednesday and induce whiffs on 63% sliders. When Gavin LuxKershaw began to believe in the possibility for a perfect game after he made a smooth play from the middle to the seventh. Roberts called Kershaw to inform him that he was done.

The 24th perfect game in baseball's long history would have had to wait.

Kershaw stated that “it's a unique thing — it's not something I take for granted.” “I know the history of baseball, and I understand what it means for the game of baseball. I know that there have only been 20-something in history. However, I stated it recently — I don't believe the individual stuff is why I continue playing the game. I wanna win. For me, that is the most important thing.”

Another similar decision was famously reversed by then-New York MetsTerry Collins, the manager, allowed Johan Santana's no-hitter to be completed on June 1, 2012. It required 134 pitches. Santana, still the Mets' only no-hitter, suffered through 10 more innings that year. He then had to undergo a second shoulder operation and has never pitched again.

On Sept. 2, 1996, the opposite happened when Joe Torre relieved David Cone after seven innings of a no-hitter. A few weeks later, he defeated the Atlanta Braves to win Game 3 of the World Series. New York YankeesTo win the championship, Kershaw overcame a two-game-to-none deficit. Kershaw hopes for a similar result.

Kershaw admitted that the disappointment of not having completed his perfect game was hard to swallow. “Hopefully it will be meaningful when we win October's World Series.”

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