Even the most dedicated Clayton Kershaw fans wouldn’t have guessed the legendary Dodger lefty would have posted a 4-0 record with a 1.80 ERA through his first five starts of the 2022 season.
The lockout had many baseball enthusiasts guessing what would occur with a prospective Kershaw contract, as there was serious speculation that the three-time Cy Young winner was strongly being courted by general manager Chris Young and the Texas Rangers. Yet, even though the Dodgers eventually nabbed CK on a one-year deal, more conjecture surfaced as to why he agreed with Los Angeles on such a short contract.
From here on out, there’s going to be even more guessing as to what Kershaw’s future might hold. Regardless of whether he puts up career numbers or has an average year, more speculation will surface during the second half of the season as to where his future lies.
Kersh could decide to walk away from the game entirely in good health and focus on his family and his many charitable endeavors, including Kershaw’s Challenge. He could continue pitching several more years until he becomes ineffective. Or, heaven forbid, he could run into a late-career injury that affects his longevity.
Whatever the case may be, he’ll go down in the Los Angeles Dodgers record books as the greatest pitcher to ever take the mound — without many arguments.
Not many of us here like projections, but at the beginning of the 2022 season, Steamer had Kershaw making 23 starts and putting up a 9-7 record with a 3.52 ERA over 23 appearances and an even 136 innings pitched. For all we know, those numbers could still happen. At the same time, we all could be witnessing one of his best seasons.
Regardless of his final 2022 numbers, even Kershaw himself admits that a lot of his success this year has been the result of a lot of good luck and some really good team defense.
“Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good,” Kershaw said after his team’s victory over the Cubs in Saturday’s early game. “Those first couple of innings, they hit a lot of balls hard right at guys. The wind was swirling, pushing the ball in a little bit. Sometimes that happens and you gotta take it.”
If he does cruise through the season staying healthy with relatively good numbers, it will be interesting to see whether he draws any type of lengthy contract offers — regardless of his own preference to continue pitching.
While 3000 strikeouts and 200 wins are certainly a few of his remaining significant milestones, there’s little else Kershaw has yet to accomplish.
For now, we as Dodger fans just need to sit back and appreciate the time he has left wearing Dodger Blue.