Clayton Kershaw backs removal of Dave Roberts from perfect game

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw stood by manager Dave Roberts after taking him off the mound in the middle of a perfect play bid.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts came under attack again for pulling a pitcher from a perfect game, but Clayton Kershaw refused to add more fuel to the fire.

On Wednesday, Kershaw pitched seven perfect innings before the manager replaced him to start the eighth. He had already thrown 80 pitches and should be part of a pitch count.

Kershaw called the move “the right decision” according to David Vassegh of Dodger Talk.

“As much as I would have wanted to, I threw 75 pitches in one sim game. … I would have liked to have stayed, but bigger things,” Kershaw said, by Jon Weissman. “I knew my pitch count wasn’t going to be 100, let alone 90. It’s hard to get out of a game like this, but like I said, we’re here to win and it’s the right choice.”

Roberts also pulled Rich Hill out of a perfect game in 2016.

Clayton Kershaw supported Dave Roberts’ decision to pull him from the perfect game

There’s a reasonable push and pull here.

There’s no question Kershaw would have wished for a chance to complete a perfect game. An opportunity like this comes so seldom that it was a shame to miss it.

At the same time, Roberts’ job isn’t to ensure his players’ individual awards. It’s about winning games, making the playoffs, and winning a World Series. A manager has to be able to take the emotions out of it.

Would it have been an incredible moment for Kershaw to throw a perfect game? Absolutely. Could chasing that moment put the pitcher at increased risk of injury and potentially hurt the Dodgers’ entire season? Yes.

Kershaw’s injury history — he missed the 2021 postseason with an elbow injury and has been able to start 30 games in a season since 2015 — had to take that into account.

That’s the calculation Roberts made. Kershaw seems to recognize this, whether he agrees in his heart or not.

Alex Vesia gave up a single against the second batter, whom he faced with relief, but the Dodgers secured a 7-0 win. Clayton Kershaw backs removal of Dave Roberts from perfect game

John Verrall

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