Kershaw has a different kind of angry
August, 4, 2012
By Blair Angulo | ESPNLosAngeles.com
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/US PresswireClayton Kershaw threw seven solid innings against the Cubs on Saturday to lead the Dodgers.
LOS ANGELES -- At times this year, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has noticed a different, perhaps angrier Clayton Kershaw.
It's not necessarily blatant or eye-catching. Kershaw's face hasn't turned red, and he's not one to slam his glove or take whacks at the water cooler. No, this is a different kind of angry.
"There's been times when he's forced the issue a little bit, where he's been almost angry with the way he pitches," Mattingly said.
Maybe there are times when Kershaw tries to be too perfect, overthinks situations and gets himself into trouble. That's the frustrated attitude Mattingly has seen.
There were no such issues in Saturday night's 3-1 win against the Chicago Cubs. Kershaw surrendered a run and three hits and fanned seven in seven innings -- a solid follow-up to his complete-game masterpiece in San Francisco last weekend. After his worst outing of the season -- an eight-run hiccup in St. Louis on July 24 -- Kershaw is back to being Kershaw.
"Keeping hitters off-balance -- that's his thing," said Matt Kemp, who hammered a go-ahead two-run shot in the fourth. "He really looked good tonight."
And a little more settled down, too.
Cubs third baseman Luis Valbuena gave Kershaw the most trouble Saturday despite being a left-handed hitter. Valbuena saw a combined 17 pitches in his first two at-bats, drawing walks both times. Kershaw got behind and couldn't put him away.
Valbuena stepped up to the plate a third time with two outs in the seventh inning, the tying run 180 feet away. Kershaw said his curveball hadn't been working, but he got a little angry and spun his best breaker of the night.
"Typical Kersh," Mattingly said.
Kershaw (9-6, 2.88 ERA) is not on the same torrid pace that led to a Cy Young Award last year, but that's the least of his worries.
"I don't really care about last year; I'm just trying to win games now," Kershaw said.