Los Angeles Dodgers left pitcher Clayton Kershaw, hugging Justin Turner after the eighth inning.

Clayton Kershaw deserves his perfect moment as an All-Star starter at Dodger Stadium

Los Angeles Dodgers left pitcher Clayton Kershaw, hugging Justin Turner after the eighth inning.

The Dodgers leave pitcher Clayton Kershaw, hugging teammate Justin Turner, after the eighth inning of the Dodgers’ 9-1 win at Angel Stadium on Friday. (Mark J. Terrill / The Associated Press)

Clayton Kershaw’s eight-inning, six-strikeout performance against the Angels on Friday was imperfect, but it was perfect in its excellence and efficiency and the flashy plays he made on a hot summer night combined with a generous dash of baseball and the impossible. was built for.

With little more defensive help from his friends, he kept the Angels off bases through seven innings, beating Shohei Ohtani and Taylor Ward to keep the Dodgers-leaning crowd in seventh place at Angel Stadium.

“After an incredible third or fourth game, I thought it was going to happen,” catcher Austin Barnes said of a perfect game. “He wanted it. We all wanted it. The defense in particular was playing so well behind him. You don’t get too many chances in that. He bowled the ball really special today.”

Kershav didn’t find his right game. He dropped a clean, swiftly lined double by an 87-mph slider, a 2-and-1 pitch by leadoff hitter Luis Rengifo in the eighth, dashing the crowd’s hopes of seeing history, but the next three. The batsmen quickly regrouped to retire. He waved his left hand and conceded the honor with a smile, leaving for a well-earned standing ovation, leaving Reyes Moronta to finish as a 9-1 Dodgers win that commanded every which way. was doing.

“It was a vintage Kershaw performance, I think,” said third baseman Justin Turner, whose remarkable dive and one-knee throw on a shot by Michael Stefanik in the fourth helped keep the game alive.

He said, ‘All their pitches were working, their pitch had turned upside down. There was a point in the middle of the game where you knew what was going on and had a really good feeling about it. ,

But Kershav still has a chance to savor a great moment. It should be Tuesday at Dodger Stadium, where he should be the starting pitcher for the National League in the All-Star Game.

There are other pitchers, including Dodgers teammate Tony Gonsolin, who have Gaudier numbers. There are other pitchers who are putting up impressive statistics. But no one deserves this honor and this moment more than Kershaw at this stage of his career, and especially on the field he has graced the 15 seasons where we have marveled at him, having suffered with him many times and have rejoiced with them. , very.

Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers opening pitcher, threw against the Angels in the eighth inning on Friday.

Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers opening pitcher, threw against the Angels in the eighth inning on Friday. (Mark J. Terrill / The Associated Press)

The three-time Cy Young Award winner, 34, missed most of last season due to an arm injury. He came back to pitch seven perfect innings and scored 13 in a chilly Minnesota in his first start this season, a start manager Dave Roberts didn’t let finish because of his early schedule and Kershaw’s injury history. It seemed only right that Kershaw braced for his last start on Friday with his seven perfect innings ahead of the on-field All-Star festivities.

This is the right time to celebrate him as an all-star starter.

“He’s just built a tremendous first half, obviously a tremendous career,” Roberts said. “And I look forward to seeing him pitch at Dodger Stadium [Tuesday]And hopefully this will be the first pitch of the game.”

Kershaw has earned that role, though he won’t say so on Friday. When asked if his next debut would be on Tuesday, he smiled. “Yeah, the All-Star Game is on Tuesday, for sure,” he said. “I am excited to be a part of it.

“At the end of the day you look at everyone’s resumes, this season’s stats, there are a lot of people who are more qualified than me to start that game, but it would be a huge honor if that happened. I’m definitely excited to do it.”

Against Brandon Marsh in the third innings and Jared Walsh in the eighth, Kershaw only counted two three balls on Friday, and his attention never wavered. His fastball went in and out. His curve kept the Angels off balance. Everything worked for him and worked smoothly. He threw 89 pitches, for 63 strikes.

“It would have been a really big team perfect sport if it were,” Kershaw said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t work out, but overall a good night.”

just not good. Great. “He just goes deep into the games. It’s a lost art these days,” Barnes said.

This is a beautiful art. “He’s still got it,” Turner said. “It’s still a very special left hand that he has and it’s still really fun to stand behind him and watch him compete.”

It will be even more fun to see Kershaw start the All-Star Game. “She has checked just about every box you can check in her career and she will be the cherry on top of everything,” Turner said. “And that being said, he still has a lot of innings left.”

Kershav’s chase for that great game continues. He deserves another kind of perfect moment on Tuesday, starting a game that has the best of the best and takes a prime position with them.

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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