Eight reasons why the Dodgers’ decision to remove Clayton Kershaw from a perfect game is so complicated

In case you haven’t heard by now—which would be a huge surprise—Dodgers quarterback Clayton Kershaw played a perfect game over seven rounds on Wednesday afternoon in Minnesota. He only made 80 throws. It has been removed from the game.

Such a move in Hot Take Era is the equivalent on social media for lighting a stick of dynamite. For those lucky enough to miss the blast, everything was as fiery as you can imagine.

My emotional reaction was to react with a slight hint of annoyance and perhaps a bit of anger. I definitely understand where everyone who wanted to see Kershaw follow comes from.

Given the circumstances behind Kershaw and Dodgers and the timing of their exit, it is understandable that he will be removed from the game.

As the night went on and I moved away from the situation, the only thing that really bothered me anymore was the people who abslyotly sure They are right.

This outing and whether or not to leave Kershaw in the game involves much more nuance than just barking about how one “side” is right and the other is wrong.

I will go over many of the key points and arguments here in hopes of balancing everything at hand.

And yes, I know. Everyone who agrees with you is right and everyone who disagrees with you is stupid. I am well informed. I’ve had years of training here.

1. Shortening the spring training

This is the third time this season that a pitcher with no hitter has been drawn in at least six rounds. The surprising reaction for many has been to blame the “analytics” thoughtlessly and complain about the “shooters these days”.

And hey, some of that is totally fair. It’s a very different game than it was decades ago, and it’s reasonable to discuss the possibility that some of the changes could be worse.

I’m not sure this is the best case to make this point. not now. It is a matter of timing. That is, thanks to the owner-imposed lockdown, the Spring Training Games began on March 17th. Kershaw threw seven perfect runs on April 13. Starting bowlers usually don’t go fully for the first or two starters of the regular season anyway, but in 2022, they had a fraction of the time to get ready.

They’re not there yet and he’s completely clueless of the circumstances of what happened this spring to discuss this exit the same way we would if Kershaw were pulled in July.

2. He was not a hitter. It was a perfect game

I got a bit of a laugh to myself while I was only getting ready to write this a few lines of text after I called this a “Hot Take Era”, but for my money, the no-hitters are a bit overkill. Yes, they are wonderful. Undoubtedly an exceptional achievement. It’s only nine last season. The league batting average was .244. With shooters, defenses, and exploration so good, they aren’t who – which It’s a relatively ridiculous feat.

However, the ideal game is another animal. In the entire history of Major League Baseball, there have been only 23. It is the pinnacle of individual excellence on the court. This is a feat that the hitters didn’t wish for.

That’s why this Kershaw game is a bigger deal than the cases we’ve already seen with Yu Darvish and Sean Manaea.

There hasn’t been a perfect game since 2012 (August 15 of that year by Felix Hernandez).

Even with the phrase “no-hitters are overgated” hanging there in the wind, I’m well aware that it’s a special event. Perfect game exponentially more distinct. This is what was happening here.

Knowing that is why it was so crazy when Kershaw showed up in the dugout heading to the club with his jacket rather than back to the pile with a glove in the middle of the eighth inning.

3. Kershaw’s elbow

Kershaw was listed with left forearm inflammation last July. Although back problems sidelined him before, this was the first time in his career that he had a problem with his elbow, at least to the point where he had to miss the start. He didn’t return until mid-September, but then struggled with elbow pain on his last regular season outing and missed the playoffs. He got an injection of platelet-rich plasma and had to shut down for much of the off season.

Kershaw’s crowd included a start on Wednesday – this was his first start to the season – last Thursday’s simulation game in which he threw 75 throws.

This wasn’t a matter of “analytics” telling Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to shield Kershaw from the squad for the third time or something. This was Dodgers and Kershaw’s plan to build his full strength so he could have the best healthy season possible at age 34.

Walking away from that for the sake of individual achievement in a team sport is not a move worth laughing at.

4. Number of pitch

It would be a great talking point no matter one’s point of view here.

We still have a crowd of “poor shooters nowadays” and I’m afraid we always will. We will also have “gun protection” people and maybe the protection is too much?

In general, 80 stadiums for the start of the season is not who – which Much. With short spring training, maybe a little more than usual. It’s definitely not a huge burden.

Heading into Wednesday, the MLB had already seen — in less than a week, consider — 42 outings in which the bowler made at least 81 shots. Justin Verlander threw an exact 80 on his return from Tommy John’s surgery. Carlos Rodon comes out of arm issues, practices it for a very thoughtful organization and throws 89 throws. Hunter Green is 22 years old, had Tommy John surgery, averaged a ball speed of over 100 mph using fastball and made 92 throws. Freddy Peralta suffered a shoulder injury last season and threw 88.

As you can see, going over 80 stadiums doesn’t feel like some kind of danger zone across baseball. What would have hurt if Kershaw was allowed to go see what happened on the eighth?

Of course, not much has gone beyond 80. Only 18 throwers have thrown over 85 and only six throwers have topped 90. AL Cy Young’s winner Robbie Ray, who led AL in the innings last season, was the leader with 96 throws.

After making 80 throws in seven runs, Kershaw was on his way to making 103 throws in nine runs.

Having suffered an elbow injury at the age of 34, with a history of back injuries and short spring training, did Kershaw really need to break through to the higher levels of his workload than any beginning player has done so far this year at first? Under this scenario, with one turn in everyone’s rotation, this would be the guy with the most pitches to start with by a pretty decent margin. Does this sound smart?

5. The bigger picture of the team

Every Dodgers team is there. They won the division eight years in a row before last season, during which they won 106 games. They won the world championship there, but it was “only” one and it happened in 2020 short and ball-free. They definitely want to get a full season title.

Arguably the main reason they didn’t get the crown last season was Kershaw’s injury.

It looks like the depth of rotation will be a concern this year.

It’s mid April.

Aren’t the team’s goals so much bigger than trying to push Kershaw across the finish line on April 13?

6. Still a spectator sport

Major League Baseball has had its most informal period with a group of wealthy people arguing over money.

We can dig into the details and point out that one side is richer than the other and all that, but we did it all off season. It wasn’t fun. And the fans don’t want to hear that. Fans just want to enjoy the sport of baseball rather than deal with the optics of the rich talking about how much extra money they’re worth.

It was almost a perfect game!

Fans love things like this. It’s one of the reasons why we cover people who don’t strike out extensively. It’s one of the easiest ways to draw the eyeballs of casual and ardent fans alike. The second person mentions the possibility of no-hitting, i.e. a baseball fan who immediately wants to tune in and either see its completion or how it is dismantled. Hell, I actually call the no-hitters overrated and I always change the channel there in the last rounds. Everyone on the field is on the edge of their seat. Offensive players want to break it and defensive players are willing to put their feet up to keep it safe.

This was a perfect game that was on its way to being the first perfect game in nearly 10 years.

Clayton was blowing Kershaw. Future Hall of Fame. He’s past his prime, but still has enough in the tank to be the best on the field on days like Wednesday.

What a story it could have been. What a treat for baseball fans after a hellish season.

There’s definitely something to be said about the interest in the fans here.

7. The unknown and the issue of leaving him in it

Knowing that, why not send Kershaw back for the eighth inning just to see what happens? He could have given up the blow on his first show and then what’s the real damage? His arm won’t fall off after some warm-up pitches and a real one.

What if Kershaw bombed the strike zone, the twins flew away and finished perfect with 93 throws?

We can’t know that an extra 13 pitches over two rounds will be detrimental to the rest of Kershaw’s season and/or his career. If so, maybe it’s cooked anyway? And it’s not like the Dodgers are relying on Chief Kershaw to deliver 220 runs or something. They can always push it back a few days or even skip a turn.

Talk to any doctor who has dealt with arm injuries and the only thing they agree on is that they can’t set a certain number of tones in specific situations like this. There is no strict rule, especially with a 34-year-old guy like Kershaw who has a lot of mileage on his arm but also has a lot of strength.

Obviously, more workload brings more risk and fewer presentations reduce risk. That’s all anyone can determine.

I saw someone posing the no-hitter book by Mets Johan Santana. I don’t think it’s comparable at all. Santana had surgery on his shoulder in 2011, and this is much more than eliminating elbow pain that doesn’t require surgery. Not only that, but Santana made 134 throws on June 1, 2012 in his no-stroke team.

there bad Lots of work between 80 and 134. Even without details, we know a lot.

I can’t get over the feeling that nothing will be harmed by letting Kershaw go back to 8th to see what happens. It was a perfect match after all. It’s not like he’s going to stay on the pile after walking three hitters in a row or something. If the first hitter messes up something silly like 13 throws, take him out.

There is always the possibility of three fast players and he plays, say, 85 pitches with three players remaining at the end. It seemed illogical to let him get the ninth.

8. Anonymous and banishment suit

Then again, there’s also the possibility that Kershaw will take the eighth hill, departing from the Dodgers’ – and Kershaw – plan from before the start and then suffer an injury at the end of the season. Maybe it’s just a season or two.

What if he gets past the plan well, throws about 105 floors and completes the perfect game, but then can’t right himself in the coming weeks? For the rest of his season, the story is that Kershaw wasn’t able to break free and wasn’t even in the top 50 of the round. Meanwhile, the Dodgers don’t have the starting depth they would like and they bounced back ahead of the World Championships once again.

Was it worth it to not only go through with the plan on April 13, but to go through it as well?


Nuance is not very popular these days. Many of us are looking at only one side of an issue and like to throw poison at “the other side”.

As the match progresses on Wednesday, I really Is that true Clayton Kershaw wanted to complete a perfect game. I was also worried that Roberts would take out Kershaw and prevent the baseball world from seeing him pay off.

The more you sift through everything at hand, the more you realize that there are actually a lot of good spots on either side of the fence.

In fact, the biggest reason here is timing. If this happened a few months from now, we would have come to a proper conclusion.

Maybe we will. Wouldn’t that be a thing.