In his 2021 Cactus League debut, Clayton Kershaw made his first start since the 2020 World Series, as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Kansas City Royals by a score of 7-5 on Friday afternoon in Surprsie, AZ. No. 22 pitched two innings, allowing two hits and striking out two batters on 22 pitches—seemingly, the true definition of “deuces wild.”
Kershaw said he felt good and that he threw a changeup, a pitch he only threw twice all of last season.
The Dodgers struck early courtesy of a Gavin Lux RBI and some good Chris Taylor base running in the top of the second inning. After Kershaw exited, Mike Kickham came in relief and allowed three runs in 2 ⅔ innings. The Royals got an RBI double from Adalberto Mondesi and a home run from Michael A. Taylor to go on top, 3-1.
In the top of the fifth inning, Taylor who had missed the beginning of Spring Training with a sore neck, launched a grand slam to left-center field, putting the Dodgers out front, 5-3.
Alex Vesia and Andre Jackson came in relief for Kickham and each would post a scoreless inning, both looking quite effective.
The Dodgers loaded up the bases again in the sixth inning, and Omar Estevez knocked in a RBI sacrifice fly. Kody Hoese, the organization’s promising third base prospect, hit a homerun in the the top of the 8th inning,
Romero closed out the game for the Dodgers after allowing an unearned run in the ninth. It was a nice bounce-back game for the Dodgers after falling to the Cubs 7-0 on Thursday, even though it is Spring Training.
The Dodgers will face the Padres on Saturday, in what can be a little preview of what promises to be a very competetive battle for the NL West..
First pitch is 12:05 p.m. Pacific time.
The Dodgers also announced the return of fans for the 2021 season in a statement posted online. The team is continuing to work with Los Angeles County health officials and the governor’s office. As it stands right now, L.A. County is only allowing no more than 100 fans, with sales of concessions and ticket sales to fans outside the region.
However, it is expected by Opening Day that the county will move to the red tier, which will allow 11,200 fans plus the sale of concessions.
Manager Dave Roberts provided some thoughts on fans returning.
“That’s fantastic, last year not having fans in the regular season, any amount of fans is great for all of us,” said Roberts.