In Clayton Kershaw’s 16 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he has established himself as one of the greatest players in franchise history both on and off the field.
Kershaw is already the Dodgers’ all-time strikeout leader, and on Saturday he moved closer to the wins record as he won his 210th game to surpass Don Drysdale’s 209 for the second-most in franchise history.
“Wins are always great,” Kershaw said. “I have a lot of respect for Don Drysdale, what he meant to this organization. So it’s a huge honor to get to do that.
“But like I said, more of a product of just the team you’re on. Wins are just being on good teams and being in the right spot. You saw it tonight, throw five innings, our guys scored a bunch of runs, our bullpen locks it down. And so I’m just fortunate to be a part of an organization that wins so much.”
Kershaw picked up the win by throwing five shutout innings while giving up just two hits. He added five strikeouts and walked two.
The start came on six days of rest as the Dodgers try to keep Kershaw healthy as he pitches with an injured left shoulder that has caused his fastball velocity to decrease more than two miles per hour.
“I think it’s trending in the right direction,” Kershaw said. “I feel like there’s some positives each start that I feel like I’m getting better from that Miami start. So not where I want it to be all the way yet. But overall, it’s definitely some steps in the right direction, for sure.”
Despite his decreased velocity, Kershaw has been able to keep getting outs and pitching well by executing his pitches. “It’s as simple as that, regardless of what your velocity is, or how the stuff is moving,” Kershaw said.
“So obviously, you’d like to be at your peak, but to be able to put pitches where you want to and execute your off speed pitches, ultimately, you can get guys out that way. So working on that as best I can.
“They had some hard hit balls tonight, obviously (David) Peralta made that huge catch there in the fifth. So there’s some things that maybe a little fortunate overall, but I’ll take it.”
Clayton Kershaw not looking ahead to 2024
Amid speculation that Saturday could be Kershaw’s last regular season start at Dodger Stadium, the southpaw said that thought did not cross his mind as he took the mound.
“Not tonight, no,” Kershaw said. “But yeah, I think it’s always special to get to pitch here. Thankfully we’re in the playoffs. It’s a nice distraction so you don’t really have to think about next year or anything like that.
“But whenever it could be your last one, you maybe take a second extra. But I’m so far away from that decision that I don’t even have time to worry about it.”
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