Clayton Kershaw faced just 10 batters in his start Friday night, leaving with left forearm discomfort – the same injury that sidelined him for more than two months earlier this season.
Kershaw gave up five hits before coming out of the game after Kolten Wong’s two-out double drove in the Milwaukee Brewers’ third run of the second inning.
Kershaw was sidelined from July 3 until early September with the forearm/elbow injury but was making his fourth start since returning.
He made it through the first inning with only a bloop single allowed. But in the second inning, the first three Brewers had hits – two singles and a double – before Kershaw got a ground out (that scored a run) and struck out the opposing pitcher.
After Wong ripped a 3-and-1 slider into the right field corner for his double, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts came out to the mound with head athletic trainer Neil Rampe. Kershaw left the mound having thrown 42 pitches (only 25 strikes), retiring just five of the 10 batters he faced. Five of those 10 batters hit balls with exit velocities over 95 mph (the Statcast standard for a “hard-hit ball”).
Perhaps most significantly, Kershaw took the ball with him as he left the mound – possibly for the last time in a Dodgers uniform.
The three-time Cy Young Award winner (and 2014 National League MVP) is headed toward free agency this winter at age 33. If Kershaw is unable to pitch this postseason – or the Dodgers are eliminated before he can – and he doesn’t re-sign with the Dodgers, Friday could have been his farewell performance for the franchise he carried on his back for years, trying to will a championship even when he was beset with injuries (and ill fortune).
Kershaw ends his 2021 regular season with a 3.55 ERA in 121-2/3 innings.
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