Clayton Kershaw beamed with excitement when he received his World Series ring with the 2021 Dodgers on April 9th. The Dodgers’ pitcher has been the center of opinions in baseball around his post-season struggles, but he finally got his title in 2020 and put those demons behind him. Now in 2021, Kershaw is set to be a free agent after the season. Rumors have been swirling around the future of Kershaw for some time, but the Dodgers’ ace has stayed focused on the task at hand and is off to a good start in 2021. He had a rough first outing in Colorado, but he is back to his winning ways after wins against the A’s and Nationals.
2021 Dodgers: The Colorado Outing
There were plenty of overreactions following Kershaw’s first start against the Colorado Rockies on April 1st. Kershaw was far from his best self and gave up five earned runs over 5.2 innings of work. The bottom of the 5th inning was where some of the Dodgers’ struggles began, giving up two runs, two hits, with a costly error leading to a 4-2 lead for the Rockies. Kershaw gave up three straight singles in the bottom of the 6th and was eventually pulled in favor of Corey Knebel. The 2021 Dodgers would go on to lose the road opener 8-5.
The Rebound in Oakland
Following his rough first outing in Colorado, Kershaw rebounded well when facing the A’s on April 6th. The bottom of the 1st was a bit concerning for Kershaw, after going down 1-0 early following a pair of doubles from Jed Lowrie and Ramon Laureano. Kershaw was able to strike out Matt Chapman and Sean Murphy to end the inning and would have a strong outing from that point. Kershaw put in seven innings of work surrendering only the one run in the top of the 1st. He finished the day with 8 strikeouts and eased any concerns of early struggles with a great rebound start.
Dominance vs Nationals
The first home series of the year was a special series for the 2021 Dodgers. In 2019, the Nationals ended the Dodgers’ playoff run en route to winning the 2019 World Series. Kershaw was at the forefront of that series loss, after giving up back-to-back home runs that ended up clinching the series for the Nationals. On April 11th, Kershaw and the Dodgers faced Max Scherzer and the Nationals. Kershaw had a career-outing, going six innings only surrendering five hits and not giving up a run. He also had six strikeouts, and the passion he showed during those strikeouts showed how much the start meant to him.
Dodgers’ great Fernando Valenzuela was in attendance for the game, which made the win that much more special for the 2021 Dodgers. Kershaw reduced his ERA to 2.89.
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