Less than two weeks ago, Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw was in New York to meet with a hip specialist, with his near future on the mound very much in doubt. But after Friday's performance against the Colorado Rockies, Kershaw look unperturbed by his right hip impingement.
Kershaw struck out 10 in eight scoreless innings, the third time he has reached double digits in strikeouts this season. It was a big improvement over his last start, when he walked a season-high five in five innings against the Cincinnati Reds.
"I know he was frustrated walking some guys, but he was out (11) days. I think it's just rust," manager Don Mattingly said before Friday's game. "It was typical Kershaw; he expected to be perfect in Cincinnati with (11) days off. I think he'll be a little sharper tonight."
Sharper was an understatement, as Kershaw strengthened his league lead in ERA (2.58). His 221 strikeouts are just one behind R.A. Dickey for the league lead. Pitching on regular four days' rest instead of 11 was a big factor for Kershaw.
"I got some good work in in between starts," he said. "Just being in my regular routine helps. I felt like I had good command all night."
Kershaw is in line to start the season finale Oct. 3, but with the club three games behind St. Louis for the second wild card with five games left, the finale might not mean much. Kershaw, ever the optimist, is preparing to take the mound.
"That's my plan. Hopefully it matters," Kershaw said. "That's my position on it. I definitely plan on pitching."