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#pounditMonday, September 26, 2022

Dave Roberts ripped for removing Clayton Kershaw from perfect game

Clayton Kershaw in the dugout

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts became a major source of controversy Wednesday when he pulled Clayton Kershaw from a perfect game after seven innings.

Kershaw had retired the first 21 batters he faced with 13 strikeouts through seven innings against the Minnesota Twins, and appeared to be cruising with just 80 pitches. However, Roberts was unmoved, and Kershaw was replaced by reliever Alex Vesia to start the eighth.

After retiring the first hitter, Vesia allowed a base hit to Gary Sanchez, ending any shot at a combined perfect game or no-hitter.

The real story was Kershaw, though. Many fans and media were stunned by Roberts’ decision to pull the veteran, and the Dodgers manager was subjected to a wave of criticism online.

Many starting pitchers are being held back a bit this season early on because of the shortened spring training. That is understandable, especially for younger guys. Kershaw is 34 years old and may never get a chance to pitch a game like this again. He knows his arm and knows how to handle the grind of a full season. Yes, it’s true that he has some recent injury history, but unless Kershaw wanted out of the game, he had earned the right to continue his perfect game bid.

Roberts has done this before, though there were health concerns involved when it happened previously. Perhaps something similar happened here, though it sure didn’t seem that way.

Photo: Mar 4, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) looks on prior to a spring training game against the San Francisco Giants at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

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