Kershaw OK with manager’s decision to yank him from perfect game bid
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts’ decision to remove Clayton Kershaw from Wednesday’s game in Minneapolis after seven innings — despite the left-hander working on a perfect game — sparked a fair amount of disappointment and dismay on social media.
But Kershaw himself said he did not share in those feelings.
“Those are individual things, those are selfish goals,” Kershaw said after the Dodgers finished off a 7-0 victory over Minnesota — in which the Twins managed only one hit, an eighth-inning single off Kershaw’s successor on the mound, Alex Vesia, one out into the eighth inning.
Kershaw — who endured an arm injury last season and was on an 80- pitch limit in his first start of the season — threw exactly 80 pitches in retiring all 21 batters he faced, striking out 13 of them.
But despite history beckoning, Roberts played it safe, yanking Kershaw after seven frames and denying the lefty a chance for what could have been his second career no-hitter and first perfect game.
“We’re trying to win,” Kershaw said afterward. “That’s really all we’re here for. As much as I would’ve wanted to do it. … I’ve thrown 75 pitches in a (simulated) game (but) I hadn’t gone six innings, let alone seven. Sure, I would’ve loved to do it, but maybe we get another chance, who knows?
“It’s a hard thing to do, to have to come out of a game when you’re doing that,” Kershaw added. “But like I said, we’re here to win. This was the right choice.”
Kershaw did, however, feel bad for his catcher, Austin Barnes, who also missed out on possibly playing a supporting role in a bit of baseball history.
“I feel bad for Barnesie,” Kershaw said. “(Barnes) did such a great job, it’s fun to get to catch one of those.”
For his part, Roberts defended the decision as being “for the best interest of the player, their health and the ballclub, because there’s a lot of people that are cheering for the Dodgers, not only just for today and Clayton to throw a no-hitter, but for the Dodgers to win the World Series.
“For us to do that, we need him healthy,” Roberts added.
It’s not the first time Roberts had to make such a tough call. On Sept. 10, 2016, the manager removed Rich Hill after seven perfect innings, concerned about Hill getting hurt.
Still, Roberts’ decision Wednesday did not sit well with many old-school fans — including Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson.
“Clayton Kershaw Perfect game 80 pitches, take him OUT !!!!! WHAT THE!” Jackson tweeted.
“what’s the game coming to? 1 of the era’s best, and you take him out with a perfect game in the 7th, 7-0 Dodgers winning. Take him OUT! THIS IS BASEBALL PLEASE PEOPLE THAT HAVE NEVER PLAYED GET OUT OF ITS WAY.”