Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw: Being Pulled After 7 Perfect Innings Was 'Right Decision'

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVApril 13, 2022

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw celebrates with teammates after a perfect game through seven innings in his season debut, dominating the Minnesota Twins with 13 strikeouts in 21 batters on Wednesday, April 13, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)
AP Photo/Craig Lassig

Fans were apoplectic when Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pulled Clayton Kershaw after seven perfect innings Wednesday.

Kershaw himself? One hundred percent onboard with the decision.

"It was the right decision…it was time," Kershaw told reporters after the Dodgers' 7-0 win over the Minnesota Twins.

Kershaw breezed through the Twins lineup over the course of his seven innings, striking out 13 batters while only throwing 80 pitches. Even though the low pitch count had some frustrated that Roberts interfered with a chance at history, Kershaw said his arm wasn't ready to take on a bigger workload.

"Those are individual things. Those are selfish goals. We're trying to win, that's really all we're here for," Kershaw said on SportsNet LA. "As much as I would have wanted to do it, I've thrown 75 pitches in a sim game. I hadn't gone six innings, let alone seven."

Kershaw added that the lockout, along with resting his arm during the offseason, played a part in his arm wearing out as he worked deeper into the game. The three-time Cy Young winner has been plagued by injuries in recent seasons. He was limited to 22 starts last season because of elbow pain and forearm inflammation, though he did not deal with ligament damage.

The fact of the matter is that Kershaw is at a point in his career when retirement was an option last offseason. Even though he's just 34 years old, there are 407 career starts on his arm (including the playoffs). The Dodgers need to be careful not to overextend Kershaw, and Roberts was likely smart to make the move when he did—even if it did rob fans of a potentially historic moment.