Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw gets final tuneup before opening day

first_imgDodgers manager Dave Roberts got his final look at pitcher Clayton Kershaw during Friday’s intrasquad game at Dodger Stadium, and he was pleased with what he saw.Even though Kershaw gave up four runs, he finished with 11 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.It was a fun night for Dodgers fans, because Kershaw went up against projected No. 2 starter Walker Buehler, who threw his first intrasquad game of the summer, and retired all seven batters he faced.Kershaw will start his ninth opening day when the Dodgers take on the San Francisco Giants on Thursday at Dodger Stadium to open a four-game series in the COVID-19 shortened 60-game season. Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start “I was very encouraged,” Roberts said during a zoom conference call Saturday of Kershaw’s Friday performance. “All the stuff, his health through six innings, the breaking ball was sharp and both breaking balls actually. He was using it in all quadrants with the fastball. I thought (his performance) was really, really encouraging, absolutely.”Kershaw has been working on a changeup, a pitch that Roberts doesn’t expect him to use often, but certainly adds to his repatoire.“Yeah, he’s going to certainly throw it in games,” Roberts said. “I don’t know a percentage, but I know that each time he picks up a baseball and works on it, he gains more confidence. So, just to have something off of his fastball, slider and curveball. I think the changeup certainly plays, but he has to have confidence in it. It’s going to be a lower percentage pitch, but I absolutely expect him to use it.”As for Buehler, he will not start during the four-games against San Francisco. He came into summer camp not as sharp or conditioned as others, it appears, and will throw three innings against Dodgers players on Wednesday.“It went well, and he said he feels good, so that’s encouraging,” Roberts said of Buehler’s performance Friday.center_img Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Asked if Buehler might get his first start when the Dodgers hit the road against Houston on July 28, Roberts said it’s certainly a possibility.Dodgers had a minor scare Friday when outfielder Mookie Betts appeared to injure his hand, but Roberts dismissed anything serious on Saturday.“He is OK, I had the same thought,” Roberts said.TONY GONSOLIN OPTIONEDIn kind of a surprise move, Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin was optioned to the teams’ alternate camp Friday.Gonsolin was expected to make the Dodgers’ starting rotation, but he was a late arrival to camp for undisclosed reasons, and it appears Roberts believes he needs more time.Gonsolin was hoping to grab a starting spot after David Price opted to sit out the season.“For Tony, it’s more of build up, giving him an opportunity to grow more innings,” Roberts said. “He’s obviously a later arrival to summer camp.“This year, starting pitching, the length in the pen, you have to have depth. But he is without a doubt going to impact our club and help us this year.”ZACH MCKINSTRY CONTINUES TO IMPRESSSecond baseman Zach McKinstry was drafted by the Dodgers out of Central Michigan in the 33rd round of the 2016 MLB draft and had been a relative unknown until having a big season in the minors last year, earning an invitation to the Double-A All-Star Game. During a short stint in Triple-A, he batted .382 with seven home runs in 26 games.On Friday, McKinstry hit a double off Kershaw, continuing an impressive showing over the summer. He had already impresssed coaches during spring training before it was shut down in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.“I’ve definitely had a few pitchers reach out to me and they said they enjoyed throwing against me,” McKinstry said. “I had a pitcher who said he likes having me behind him when he’s throwing and really thinks I have a pretty good future ahead of me. And I think I’ve showed some higher-up guys and players that I can compete at the next level.”Even in February, Roberts liked what he saw.Related Articles “Zach is an interesting player and has performed himself into being a real guy as far as being on the roster,” Roberts said in the spring. “I really pull for guys like that. He can play anywhere on the diamond. He conducts really good at-bats. He’s a guy that I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw him sometime this year.”DODGERS FINALLY FACE OPPONENTSThe Dodgers will stop playing themselves and begin their short three-game exhibition stint Sunday and Monday at Dodger Stadium against the Arizona Diamondbacks, with a final exhibition Tuesday at home against the Angels.Roberts said 25-year-old right-hander Mitchell White will start Sunday and Julio Urias will start Monday, with Alex Wood throwing a simulated game as well. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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