(Photo Credit: Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Clayton Kershaw surprised everyone on Thursday morning with what appeared to be an eephus pitch, floating the ball home at a whopping 46 MPH to Braves’ catcher Tyler Flowers in the bottom of the fourth inning of the series finale.
Without any knowledge of Kershaw’s intent, Orel Hershiser, SportsNet LA’s color analyst, tried his best to explain what he saw after the pitch was thrown.
“I don’t know what that was,” Hershiser said. “He might have thought that this guy [Flowers] is hitting everything, fastball in, fastball away, breaking balls from righties on the black. I’m just going to screw with him mentally and then I’m going to go attack him.”
For those who have yet to see the highlight, here’s a really quick peek:
In the latter part of his career, former Dodgers’ pitcher Vicente Padilla was widely known for his own eephus pitch, commonly referred to as a “soap bubble” by Dodgers’ legendary broadcaster Vin Scully. Padilla’s version typically crossed the dish at around 55 MPH.
After the game, Kershaw spoke to Alanna Rizzo of SportsNet LA and explained what had actually transpired during the Flowers at-bat.
“A lot going on in the old skull on that one,” Kershaw said. “Tyler [Flowers] was taking a little bit of time, so I was going to quick-pitch him. I got what I wanted, he wasn’t ready and Angel [Hernandez] didn’t call time. I was gonna throw it, but then he got ready really quickly, and then A.J. [Ellis] signaled for a different pitch. I was gonna just throw a fastball, and I didn’t want to cross A.J. up if he took it, and then I didn’t want to throw a fastball down the middle, so I was just like, ‘All right, he won.’ and just kind of lobbed it up there.”
At the end of the game, Kershaw’s day could almost be described as “adventurous.”
Aside from the soap bubble, he gave up a season high 10 hits to the Braves, struck out 10 batters over a full eight innings, did not factor into the decision and was thrown out at home plate trying to score in the seventh inning. All of that while lowering his ERA to a mere 1.50.
The Dodgers sealed the series win in the 10th inning when Yasmani Grandal doubled to center field, driving in Enrique Hernandez with the go-ahead run. Reliever Chris Hatcher was credited with the win, while closer Kenley Jansen notched his seventh save of the season.
Next up for the Dodgers is a three game set against the Rockies in Colorado. Top pitching prospect Jon Gray will oppose Scott Kazmir in the opener on Friday evening. Kazmir has surrendered a total of ten runs over eight innings in his last two starts. Kaz’s only other career start against the Rockies was at Coors Field in 2007, recording the win in a 7-4 Rays’ victory.
First pitch is slated for 5:40 p.m. local time.