After winning a Cy Young Award then finishing second the next season, and after leading the major leagues in ERA for two consecutive years, it's understandable that Clayton Kershaw is a bit of a perfectionist. He didn't sound too happy with himself after allowing four runs on seven hits in his three innings of work in the Dodgers' 7-3 loss to the Padres on Tuesday in Peoria.
He is one of the few who doesn't say he was working on things, or that the results don't matter, even if they really don't for someone of his caliber, who barring injury isn't going to be bumped from his scheduled opening day start.
"I focus on results. It's the best way to dictate how you're doing is to see how the hitters react. It sucks to give up runs like that no matter where it is," Kershaw said. "You saw it, they got hits and runs, that's all there is to it. They're reacting well, which is not good."
Kershaw allowed a single, triple, and home run to the three batters he faced in the fourth inning, without retiring a batter. In all, he threw 65 pitches in the game, including 39 for strikes.
Last spring, Kershaw allowed six runs and 19 total hits in five starts, totaling 22 innings. In eight innings this spring, Kershaw has a very Kershaw-like 12 strikeouts and just one walk. But he also has allowed 17 hits and nine runs, including eight earned runs for the early 9.00 Cactus League ERA.
"Concern might not be the best word, but it's definitely not confident, I guess you could say after giving up that many runs. You can't say you feel great and you're doing great if you're not seeing the results," Kershaw said. "I'm definitely looking to have a good start here one of these days."
But when asked after the game if he was concerned about his ace starting pitcher, manager Don Mattingly just laughed.
"With Kersh, he's never really happy unless he's throwing zeroes. But this is part of early spring in training for him," Mattingly said. "If we were seeing a real lack of velocity or if something wasn't working, it would be one thing."
Kershaw said on Tuesday that the Padres were jumping on fastballs, just as they did last Friday against Zack Greinke at Camelback Ranch. It didn't help Kershaw that he had several fastball counts.
"I was getting behind in counts and they were getting hits, basically, which is what it comes down to," Kershaw said.
Mattingly was more specific, citing the home run hit by Nick Hundley was on a slider from Kershaw.
"He's not quite getting the slider over, and he's given up a couple of homers," Mattingly said. "He gave up a few early last year on the slider that he just overthrows and it just kind of stays there."
Perspective was offered by Mattingly after the game.
"It's only spring training, and we'll forget all about these games as we get going," he said.
- Shawn Tolleson will be examined later Tuesday by team doctors after injuring his left knee in the eighth inning.
- Matt Kemp will start again in center field on Wednesday, against Team Mexico at Camelback Ranch. It will be the first back-to-back games for Kemp this spring.
- Brian Barden started at third base for the Dodgers on Tuesday and had two singles and a walk in his three plate appearances. In eight Cactus League games, Barden is 9-for-15 with a double and three walks, for a healthy line of .600/.667/.667
- With a split squad on Wednesday, Mattingly will travel to Goodyear against the Indians in order to see Hyun-jin Ryu pitch in person. Triple-A manager Lorenzo Bundy will travel with Mattingly, while bench coach Trey Hillman stays at Camelback Ranch to manage the Dodgers against Mexico. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, who went to Tempe with Ryu on Friday, will be in Glendale on Wednesday to watch Zack Greinke start.
The Dodgers are split on Wednesday, with Greinke pitching against Mexico at Camleback Ranch and Ryu pitching against the Indians in Goodyear. Both games at noon PT starts.
Brandon League, Kenley Jansen, and J.P. Howell are scheduled to follow Greinke on the mound in Glendale, while Stephen Fife is slated to pitch after Ryu in Goodyear.