I grew up wanting to be Batman. I thought the Caped Crusader was so cool! He didn’t have superhuman strength or laser vision, but he still kicked butt! I guess a part of me always wanted to be Batman when I grew up.
Now, I want to grow up to be Clayton Kershaw.
After watching Kershaw gut out three scoreless innings and get the first hit of the season for the Los Angeles Dodgers in their opener against the San Diego Padres on Thursday, I now officially have a “Kershaw Krush.”
You can fake your way through a cold. Colds aren’t fun, but you still can usually muddle through work even if you have a cold.
However, the flu is a different story. The flu makes it tough to go to a job where you sit in front of a computer in a square cubicle. Try having the flu and trying to repeatedly throw a baseball 95 miles per hour!
Kershaw was battling the flu when the Dodgers’ opener arrived Thursday. Kershaw was advised by his manager, Don Mattingly, and his general manager, Ned Colletti, not to pitch. Kershaw politely (I don’t know this, but since Clayton is my hero, he was polite in this story!) declined and took the mound for the Dodgers.
You know why I’m so impressed with Kershaw’s courageous effort? Because he wasn’t doing it for himself, he was doing it for the Dodgers. Kershaw didn’t pitch because he was trying to preserve some consecutive appearances streak.
Kershaw didn’t pitch because he was trying to kick in a bonus clause in his contract. He pitched while being sick because he knows he’s the leader of the Dodgers’ pitching staff. Kershaw pitched because he’s The Man!
I don’t know exactly how sick Kershaw was Thursday. I’m not sure if he was 25 percent, 50 percent, or more. I do know, though, Kershaw wasn’t himself. You could see him laboring on the mound to muster enough energy to throw effective pitches.
When Kershaw got the Dodgers’ first hit of the game in the third inning, he looked very tired on the base paths. Mattingly said Kershaw was lying down in the tunnel after the third inning.
If the Dodgers made an insurance commercial, the slogan would be: “We’re in good hands with Clayton!” Kershaw may not win another Cy Young this season. He may not win 20 games again. That won’t matter to me. Kershaw did enough on opening day to make him my hero, even if he gets bested by the Joker, the Riddler and Mr. Freeze.
The good from the 5-3 victory over the Padres?
• Matt Kemp’s two-run homer (and two hits with no strikeouts!).
• Dee Gordon’s diving stop and putout of Yonder Alonso.
• Juan Rivera’s two hits in four at-bats.
• Josh Lindblom’s two perfect innings in relief of Kershaw.
• Javy Guerra’s save from a perfect ninth inning.
The not-so-good from the game?
• Gordon’s three strikeouts. You need your leadoff man to get on base, not whiff three times.
• Juan Uribe’s midseason form: No hits in three at-bats with two strikeouts.
• Mike MacDougal’s shaky inning of relief: One hit, one run and one walk.
• Kenley Jansen’s shaky inning of relief: Two hits and two runs.
Overall, a win’s a win, and that’s a good way to start the season, especially when your ace pitcher looks and feels like death warmed over!