Clayton Kershaw ‘Not Great’ As Opening Day Approaches

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Clayton Kershaw expects the best from himself, and that’s why the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher sounded frustrated after his previous two so-so Cactus League starts.

“Not great,” Kershaw said after yielding five runs on eight hits over four innings against Milwaukee on Tuesday. “Not a lot of positives. Just keep going, figure it out.”

Kershaw kept what he needs to improve to himself. But Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times surmised it could be the velocity on Kershaw’s pitches.

“Last spring, the left-hander touched 93 mph in his first Cactus League start. It was a positive sign for Kershaw, whose average velocity had dipped to 90.5 mph in 2019,” Castillo wrote. “He had visited Driveline Baseball near Seattle that offseason hoping to regain velocity and was successful. Months later, he averaged 91.6 mph in the shortened 60-game season.”

Things have changed so far this year though.

“His velocity, however, is back down this spring. Kershaw’s fastball has sat at 88 to 90 mph, according to the stadium radar gun,” Castillo wrote. “The difference is slight, but notable.”

All that said, this is Kershaw — and it’s safe to assume that he will come around and be the same dominant guy he’s always been. And there’s no shortage of motivation on his part, as the defending champion Dodgers intend to go for back-to-back titles.

“I wasn’t as enthused to get back going again, which is a good thing,” Kershaw said of his offseason. “It’s a great problem to have. I think every offseason in the past it’s been, ‘I just want to get this done. I just want to do it, do it, do it.’ And there’s this passion, and it just constantly builds and builds and builds. And now the pressure is just because we have a great team and we’re supposed to win. That’s awesome.”

Written by Sam Amico

Sam Amico spent 15 years covering the NBA for Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports and, along with a few other spots, and currently runs his own basketball website on the side,

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