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Dodgers Dugout: Is it time to worry about Clayton Kershaw?

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw leaves in the fourth inning against Oakland.
Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw leaves in the fourth inning of a spring-training game against Oakland on March 26, 2021.
(Associated Press)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and it’s a good thing the Dodgers don’t pick their team based on spring training stats.

In his final start of spring training, Clayton Kershaw gave up nine runs (eight earned) in 3 1/3 innings against the Oakland A’s, leaving his spring training ERA at (let me get my calculator)...

Well, my calculator doesn’t compute numbers that high. Let me get my abacus and slide rule. Kershaw’s ERA is ... 10.22?

That can’t be right, can it? It is.

In 12.1 spring innings, Kershaw has given up 21 hits, 14 earned runs and three walks while striking out 14.

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What does Kershaw have to say about all of it?

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“It hasn’t been good, for sure,” Kershaw said after Friday’s game. “But tonight I actually felt like there were some pitches that were better. It’s good to know it’s in there. At times I felt like I knew what I was doing, so that’s good.”

Dave Roberts: “I thought the pitching was good. The results weren’t good, obviously. There were some misses to the big part of the plate. But I thought the curveball was good, I thought the slider wasn’t there tonight, but I thought the fastball was there. There were some near-misses, but the life to it was good. When you’re talking about a regular-season big league ballgame, there’s scouting that goes into it. Right now it’s getting the pitch count up, and that’s what we did.”

Both agree that pitching in real games will help.

“I don’t have a choice, so I’m gonna be ready,” Kershaw said. “I’m excited to get going. I really am. I’m excited to get there and have that adrenaline, those butterflies, and get going again.”

So, should we be worried? As much as I discount spring training stats, you’d be foolish not to be worried a little, especially since his velocity has been erratic. But it’s probably best to wait a couple of starts at least before getting overly concerned. It’s a good thing the Dodgers have a lot of starting pitchers though.

Roberts might not manage All-Star game

Georgia recently adopted a new law that makes it harder to vote, and the law is expected to impact the Black community more than any other. This year’s All-Star game is scheduled for Atlanta, and MLB is getting pressure to move the game to a different state. If they don’t, Roberts might decide not to manage this year. (Roberts would get to manage the NL All-Stars because the Dodgers were in the World Series last season).

“If it gets to that point,” Roberts said, “it’ll certainly be a decision I’ll have to make personally....

“When you’re trying to restrict African-American votes — American citizens — that’s alarming to me to hear.”

Major League Baseball Players Assn. executive director Tony Clark said the union “would look forward” to discussing with the league whether to relocate the All-Star game.

The new law limits where voters can drop off ballots, makes it a crime to provide food or water to voters waiting in line to cast a ballot, requires additional layers of identification for absentee voters, limits the use of provisional ballots and authorizes the state legislature to override local election officials.

Trevor Bauer does good

I’ve criticized Trevor Bauer for his poor social media skills and harassing of a college woman on Twitter, so it’s only fair I point out some good he has done.

Megan Aronson recently took to Twitter to ask her followers to wish her son, Kanon, a happy birthday, explaining that Kanon had been bullied a lot over the last couple of years because his family has moved often and he was always the new kid in school.

The Tweet went viral, and Bauer noticed it.

“The next thing we know, we get a call from the Dodgers, and Trevor had experiences being bullied as a kid and said that he had seen the tweet and it really ripped at his heartstrings,” Aronson told MLB.com. “He said he wanted to invite us to come be their guests at a game, which is just incredible.”

Bauer brought Kanon, his three siblings and his parents to Saturday’s exhibition game. He gave Kanon a signed jersey (inscription: “It’s cool to be different!! Keep being you! -- Trevor Bauer”).

“That was my entire childhood. I got bullied mercilessly nonstop by kids in school,” Bauer said. “I hated going to school. I was just miserable for 17 years of my life. I just wanted to try and do something special for him and give him some hope that things get better and keep being himself and all that.”

Aronson recounted it like this: “That was just incredible. That was just amazing. Kanon just flipped out. The whole time that we were sitting talking to Trevor, Kanon said he was shaking like a leaf. He got really nervous, you know, it was a big moment.”

Read the whole thing on MLB.com.

And the rotation is...

Roberts announced that his first four starters will be Kershaw, Bauer, Walker Buehler and Julio Urías. That leaves three people: David Price, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin, for the rotation. The guess here for who will get the fifth spot: Gonsolin. But Price and May will both get plenty of starts this season.

Also, Roberts said that the team is set except for the final position player spot and the final bullpen spot. There will be 13 position players and 13 pitchers. Who gets the final spots? We’ll find out this week.

Your first Dodgers memory

Since I still have a lot of these, “Your first Dodgers memory” returns this season. If you haven’t already, I’d still love for you to send me your first Dodgers memory, and it might run in an upcoming Dodgers Dugout. Include your name and where you live. And don’t send only a sentence. Tell why that memory sticks out in your mind. You can email me your memory at houston.mitchell@latimes.com. Thanks.

Ed Cuthbertson of Austin, Texas: My first Dodger memory was attending a game with my Dad and uncle in 1955 at Ebbets Field. I was already a Dodger fan (my brother was a Yankee fan, ugh!). Taking the train in from Long Island to meet my uncle and then taking the subway to the ball park. I don’t remember much about the game. I actually think we lost that one, but it didn’t matter, our seats were just past the dugout on the third-base side of the field just above the box seats. If I hadn’t been hooked before, I was then. I followed them closely the rest of the season and through their World Series victory that year. We moved to Southern California in January of 1957, and the Dodgers had to follow me (their biggest fan) out there in 1958. At least that’s the story I like to tell people.

Jim Voge of Cambria: It was 1958 and my Dad took me to my first Dodger game at the L.A. Coliseum. I remember the short left-field wall and we were sitting high up in right field. It was a night game and I thought every foul ball was coming to me. Of course sitting in the stratosphere no ball ever came close but it didn’t matter. I was 7-years-old and life as I had known it would never be the same. Wally Moon was my favorite player with his left-handed “moon shots” to the short left field. I don’t even remember if they won or who they were playing but I knew right then that I was a Dodger fan for life.

Sherry Fisher of Columbus, Ohio: When I was 12 and living in Granada Hills, I never paid much attention to baseball, but enjoyed playing the game. One night my Dad was listening to a game on the radio, and for some reason, I caught the announcer (Vinnie) saying that there were 90,000 people in the L.A. Coliseum, all holding a burning candle. I asked my Dad why, and he told me it was Campy’s Night, honoring Roy Campanella, a Dodger catcher who was paralyzed and in a wheelchair due to a car accident. And that was all it took. I started listening to the games, asked my Dad about the players, and the plays. Pretty soon I had memorized every player’s number, batting average or ERA, the lineup, where and when they were born, all about their families, etc. My closet door was plastered with LA Herald Express (before it merged with the Examiner) newspaper articles, and I remember one I had was with Sandy’s 18 strikeouts. Another one was when Johnny Roseboro ripped the crotch in his uniform. If Dodger games were being televised, I would always watch them, and in ’59 I remember begging my mother to let me stay home from school and watch the games when they were playing against the Giants. I loved watching Maury steal. I was the only girl huddled around a radio at recess, listening to the Dodgers play the Milwaukee Braves for the pennant that year.... I can still hear Vinnie announcing “We’re going to Chicago!” when we won the game. We played against the White Sox, and won the World Series.

I am 75 now, and a great-grandma, living in Columbus, Ohio (I was a transplanted military wife). I still love my Dodgers, and L.A.. I subscribe to MLB to watch the games when they are televised unless they are playing in a city too close to mine. I can understand games in this state being blacked out (we usually go to Cincinnati if the Dodgers are playing the Reds). But it burns my biscuits when games in Pittsburgh are blacked out. It’s a four-hour drive. Boo Hiss! I know we hardly play the Pirates any more, but still.

And finally

Vin Scully call Sandy Koufax the greatest pitcher he has ever seen. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.


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