PHOENIX, AZ – Spring training being more about preparation than results, it would have been easy for Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw to just sweep Monday’s rough outing against the Oakland A’s under a rug of clichés.
Something along the lines of being more focused on working on a specific pitch rather than getting hitters out or being satisfied getting his work in and building up arm strength and refining his command.
Yada, yada, yada.
But Clayton Kershaw doesn’t operate that way, so when a collapse of control sabotaged him in the third inning and the A’s pounded him for five runs on two hits and three walks he wasn’t just upset about it – he was borderline fuming.
“I know it’s spring training and it doesn’t matter,” Kershaw said afterward “But it matters to me.”
And he took nothing positive from an outing in which he sailed through the first two innings before falling apart in the third with the three walks and two hits.
Kershaw never did make it out of the third, getting pulled before recording an out. His Cactus League ERA soared to 18.00 and his blood pressure rose right along with it.
At the risk of overeating, he’s perplexed.
“You pitch bad, there’s concern,” Kershaw said.
And he wasn’t about to hide behind spring training being a time to get ready for the season.
“That’s what the offseason’s for,” Kershaw said. “I don’t believe you come in to get ready. You’re supposed to be ready to go.”
Two starts into spring – and really all spring counting his side throwing sessions – Kershaw clearly isn’t ready.
He said he hasn’t been satisfied with any of it.
Worse, he has no idea what the problem is.
“I’m searching for answers right now,” he said.
It isn’t a physical problem, Kershaw insists. His arm and body feel fine.
“Physically I feel great,” he said, “No excuses.”
Spring or no spring.