The Dodgers Pulled Clayton Kershaw After 7 Perfect Innings And Just 80 Pitches

The Los Angeles Dodgers, one of the favorites to win the 2022 World Series, got off to a rocky start to their season, dropping their first series of the year in Denver, 2-1, to the Colorado Rockies.

L.A. looked to bounce back and get their season on the track that was expected prior to the start in Minnesota for a quick two-game set and after winning the first on Tuesday night, they were once again rolling on Wednesday to move over .500 for the first time in this young season. On the bump was longtime Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who put forth one of the best outings of his career, absolutely dealing from the jump.

Kershaw was perfect through his first five innings and with two outs in the sixth inning, Kershaw got the defensive gem needed for any perfect game to have a chance when Gavin Lux, shifted to be behind on the shortstop side of second base, picked a hard bouncer back up the middle clean and threw out Gio Urshela to keep Kershaw perfect through seven innings.

When Kershaw strolled into the dugout, he was giving high fives and getting hugs, seemingly indicating his day was done despite having thrown just 80 pitches in seven perfect innings, with 13 strikeouts in an incredible performance.

Sure enough, despite back-to-back-to-back home runs in the top of the 8th to give L.A. a 6-0 lead, David Roberts made the call to the bullpen for Alex Vesia who entered to boos from the road crowd at Target Field who were hoping to at least see some history in the form of perfection on Wednesday if they weren’t going to get a Twins win.

The Dodgers are a team focused on winning a championship, and so you can understand a longterm approach for someone as important to that journey as Kershaw, particularly given a shortened spring training due to the lockout. However, at 80 pitches thru 7 innings, it’s hard to justify to fans that you pulled him with two innings to go to the 24th perfect game in Major League Baseball history, particularly with the game in hand after a three run top of the 8th. At the very least, fans would’ve loved to see him get a chance and have a short leash if he gives up a hit, but Roberts had a plan and wasn’t going to deviate from it, despite Kershaw’s perfect start.