Clayton Needs To Fix This

Clayton Kershaw pitched a reasonably good game last night to stop the Dodgers losing streak as he is prone to do, but there is one aspect of his game that he needs to fix before it becomes a big problem.  Oftentimes, a person’s greatest strength is also their greatest weakness and I believe that is true in Clayton Kershaw’s case as well.  Clayton’s greatest strength is his intensity and focus – that intensity and focus also makes him a great competitor.

So, let me get to my point: If you didn’t see the post game Press Conference with Clayton, you can see it HERE.  Here’s what Ken Gurnick reported:

After beating the Rockies on Wednesday night, 4-2, Clayton Kershaw had another career first: the first time he publicly ripped an opponent.

The Dodgers ace’s anger was aimed at Rockies starter Tyler Anderson, who held up the start of the game walking slowly from the bullpen to the dugout with his catcher and coach in foul ground and forcing a delay of Kershaw’s first pitch by about a minute. Kershaw waited impatiently, at one point pacing off the mound in annoyance.

Personally, I believe that Bud Black is a very smart manager and I believe that Tyler Anderson was late in walking from the bullpen to the dugout by design.  It was designed to throw him off Clayton’s routine.  It was designed to steal his focus and intensity… and IT WORKED! Clayton was clearly rattled in the first inning and ne never really got into his rhythm the rest of the game.

Clayton likes routine and you had better believe that other teams will do the same thing or something similar to throw him off.  Don’t lose theta intensity and focus, Clayton, but also let it go and keep your focus.  This is a mental hurdle that he will have to overcome… and quickly, or teams will do all kinds of things to throw him off.  Can you blame them?  They know they have no chance against him unless they can get him out of his comfort zone.  It’s time to take another step forward, Clayton. Don’t let them get your goat!

Rants & Raves

  • That’s the Kike I know!
  • Cody had two more jacks last night.  He’s coming soon…
  • Way to show you belong, Chris Taylor!
  • Yasiel Puig should hit 6th, 7th or 8th!
  • Bring on the Dirt-Bags – Let’s take First
  • According to Doug Padilla, The Dodgers’ Corey Seager became just the sixth NL player since 1920 to collect 200 hits, 100 runs, 100 RBI, 50 doubles and 30 home runs through his first 200 games. The last two to do it were the Mets’ David Wright and the Cardinals’ Albert Pujols.
  • Did the fact that a Lefty (Doc) threw BP before the game help the Dodgers beat a Lefty?  It didn’t hurt and I would keep it up, Doc!

Minor League Report

Thew best one is HERE.  You can’t beat David Hood’s Minor League Report, so why try?

Today’s Music


Posted by Mark Timmons

We started LA Dodger Talk in 2001. This site is about giving another perspective outside of the average day-to-day reporting. We don't do game recaps or such things -- lots of sites do that well. I value sabermetrics, but don't think they are the "end-all-be-all.". This is where you should start your day as a Dodger Fan. Welcome! We'd like to hear your voice.

This article has 28 Comments

  1. My amateur psychologist gut agrees with Mark’s amateur psychologist gut regarding Kershaw. Does he overthrow in the Playoffs due to desire to win and intensity he puts into those games?
    Oral mentioned in a recent game that Koufax was going to pitch extra innings in a game before he was Koufax and therefore didn’t throw as hard in that game to help him throw more innings. The result was he learned that 93 MPH made him a pitcher and not a thrower as he pitched close to a perfect game and after that game, he became Koufax. Okay, I embellished some from what Oral actually said.

    1. If you noticed in the last 3 playoff games Kid K pitched…he did well until the 7th inning or 3rd time thru the batting order…..I feel he just ran out of gas from all the innings and strikeout he had thrown thru the season….Pitch Kershaw six then yank him…

      1. Kingman

        I think they need to pull Kershaw, in the seventh innng, once anyone, gets on base.

        The thing that bothers me in the post season, when Kershaw pitches, is that some people want so badly for Kershaw to do well, and get that monkey off his back, that they are thinking more about Kershaw, then the team getting, a win.

        And I think Kershaw needs to know when he doesn’t have it anymore.

    2. Bum

      Kershaw tends to throw fastballs, when he is down in the count.

      And in the post season, he throws fastball after fastball, when he gets in trouble.

      Kershaw needs to learn how to pitch backwards, when he is behind on the count, because that might help him pitch better, in the post season.

      1. He threw fastball after fastball because he didn’t have a curve since he came off the DL for the most part and his slider was ineffective because he was over throwing every pitch.

  2. Kershaw said that the ploy didn’t affect the first inning problems he had. I agree. He just probably shouldn’t talk about it publicly. All is fair. I think it is a smart ploy as long as the league lets them get away with it. I have noticed more pitchers pitching in the style of Kershaw, with the hesitation at the top of the windup. Anderson did it last night. Kershaw has been around long enough for people to be copying him, starting in youth ball. It might save the elbow/shoulder. Not sure about the back.

    1. Bobbie17

      If it didn’t affect his performance he wouldn’t be talking about it, after the game.

      And because he did talk about it, teams know now, that that bothers him.

      I personally could tell, he didn’t appreciate having to have to wait, for the pitcher to come in, from the bullpen.

      1. Bobbie17

        I wanted to add something.

        If that didn’t bother Kershaw, why did a walk the lead off hitter?

        I don’t remember the specific time, but Orel said, that it had been a very long time, that Kershaw had last walked the lead off hitter, at the start of the game.

        1. OF COURSE IT BOTHERED HIM! He is not going to say it, but he was obviously talking about it 4 hours later!

          1. I don’t know, maybe it didn’t bother him and he just thought they were rude and arrogant and he wanted to make a point after the game didn’t bother him, he beat them anyway and they were rude and arrogant doing that at the start of a game on another team’s field.

  3. Liberatore pitched to one guy, gave up a hit, and took the loss. I think the next pitcher gave up the hit that knocked in his run. Spitsbarth is 0-2017 at RC. I see him moving up soon.

    1. Getz gave up a double, walk and HR after relieving Liberatore. 1st runs scored against both Liberatore and Getz this year. Layne Somsen finshed up and is also 0-2017 (I like that).

  4. Mark

    I agree with most everything, that you said.

    You are right about Kershaw, he needs to be able to adjust to
    certain situations, that come up, and not let anything or anyone, mess with his game.

    The fact that he was still holding on to this, after the game, tells me, he did let them, get him off his game.

    He also needs to learn to know, when he doesn’t have it, anymore, too.

    It was good to see Taylor match Kike, in his at bats, because it had to be hard, to be sent down, after the spring training he had, and knowing how Kike performed, in the season before.

    It was also good to see Scott do what he does best, and it was good to see a little, offense.

    But I am not going to get my hopes up, from this one game, for two reasons.

    The first reason, is because this pitcher they faced last night, hasn’t been good most of the season, and other teams, have beat him up, even harder.

    And the second reason, is that this is only one game.

    About Puig, it seemed like after Puig had those good games, he started to get a little cocky, to soon.

    He was acting like the big guy out in right, and he started standing out of the box, instead of taking off, after he hit two balls on the line, one to center in that game before, and to left center field, last night.

    But they were not hit as hard, as he thought.

    One didn’t even make it to the warning track, and the other hit, only got to the wall.

    It seems like, when Roberts moves Puig farther up in the batting order, he almost always, tries to do to much.

    I agree Puig does better hitting lower, in the line up.

    But if Puig could step up, I would think about batting him second, not fourth, so Corey and Turner, could hit him in.

    Because if Puig can get on base in front of them, he might get them, more fastballs, to hit.

    I am glad they have a day off today, so Turner can have one more day, to heal, and to give Corey a day off, because I think he needs some rest, both mentally, and physically.

    Because he really didn’t have much time, to build his endurance up, because he missed most of spring training, and he only had about one or two weeks, before the season began.

    He is a a really good player, but he is also human.

    1. Puig is having quality professional AB’s almost everytime in the batter’s box. Are some outs? yes. Next to Turner, Puig’s approach in the batter’s box has been better than the rest of the team.

  5. I’ve got the same read on Clayton that Mark has – he relies a great deal on his routine as he prepares for each start. His teammates often discuss how they marvel at how intense and maniacal CK is about preparation. The other day, my son asked me why CK has not been as clutch in the playoffs. I speculated that this may have to do, in part, with the fact that playoff schedules are very different than the regular season and it throws off Kershaw’s normal game preparation routine. As I recall, when discussing that clutch save vs. the Nationals in Game 5, CK mentioned he was not concerned about coming in because it was already his normal day to throw in the bullpen. In other words, because he could think about it as an event that did not deviate too far from his routine, he drew confidence in being able to perform.
    I agree with Mark. I love the guy because he is so great and he works so hard. But if he can adapt on this front, he will shut down the few naysayers he has left.

  6. Kershaw needs to do nothing.

    He’s a generational talent.

    Let’s appreciate what we have and not nit-pick.

    1. I agree. Sometimes we look too hard to find a fault with someone to justify the problems they incur. CK does have blemishes…we all do (except Maybe Mark). I will ignore the blemishes and just enjoy what he gives us every 5 days, playoff problems and all. Although I hope he finds away to resolve that problem.

      1. AC…”CK does have blemishes…we all do (except Maybe Mark).”

        Okay, now maybe you’ve crossed the line AC !!! hahaha. But sure do appreciate Mark’s generosity at providing this great, free and non-nuisance forum for us. And, he, along with most of the rest of you, have some great baseball insights and instincts.

  7. Clayton is the stopper and last night he stopped a 3 game losing streak, got the team back to .500 and sets them up for a key road trip after an off day. It was good to see Kenley get some work in with a clutch 4 out save. The next 9 games are huge and after coming home to face the Phillies for 3 get the Giants again for 3 more. I think they can win all 4 series and go something like 9 and 4 and take control of the division. All they need to do is hit consistently!

    With the lineup last night it was good that Kershaw was pitching, and Kike and Taylor came up big. It has to be great for their confidence as well. With Forsythe out awhile it’s time for team dad Utley to step up and I think he will.

    Any word on Gutierrez return? The RH hitter for the OF has been in flux, and it was good to see SVS go deep last night, he has been pressing. Eibner has continued his hot spring with a hot performance at OKC, maybe he steps up for the big club. Tough break for Segedin and Forsythe, two injured toes in one night? If you are a minor league player it is pretty obvious that you can be called up any time. I hope Dickson gets a shot at some point.

    Fields has pitched well but I think he will be up and down a lot this year like Avilan was last year. Liberatore could be too with Dayton going down.

  8. I agree with the article at Dodgers Digest. Bellinger should not come up until he’s playing every day. He shouldn’t be part of a platoon. I’m not a guy who comes on here complaining about every platoon either. Bellinger should be on the field every day either in LF or 1B whether it be in OKC or LA.

    The thing I noticed about Kike a few games ago is that he went the other way a couple of times. Last year, he was pulling off of everything and if he didn’t get a fastball middle-in off a lefty then he didn’t stand a chance.

    Puig is having quality AB’s. He isn’t over matched and he isn’t chasing balls out of the strike zone. Toles hit a missle last night just right at the guy. I would hit Puig second or 6th against righties. I prefer Seager and Turner hitting 3-4. Batting Puig second would accomplish that. With Forsythe on the DL we will see a lot of different batting orders though.

    Eibner looked like he crapped himself last night.

  9. Sandy Koufax used to be my favorite Dodger. In the past 10 years, Clayton Kershaw has passed Koufax to become my favorite player, so when I say that he needs to make some changes, I say it as his biggest fan.

    It is clear to me that his intensity and determination have made him what he is, but I believe there are times when that intensity is a detriment – times when he just tries to power through, when he would be best served by being less intense, relaxing and “letting the game come to him.” Nothing derogatory, just constructive criticism.

  10. And from Waaaaaaayyyyyyyyy out in left field, the Rangers are 5-10. I am sticking to my preseason prediction: Dodgers get Yu Darvish at the end of July… And never look back and roll through the play-offs and World Series. Vinnie is in the lead car at the parade, What the hell, it’s thursday, why not dream a little!

  11. I think the end result could be reality. Darvish? Maybe… if he’s healthy. That has been an issue, but the Rangers have had a lot of injuries. I expect them to come back.

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