Dave Roberts ripped for removing Clayton Kershaw from perfect game
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.
If it's a no-hitter, whatever. Yank him. Clayton Kershaw has thrown one.
But there have been more than 220,000 games in MLB history. There have been 23 perfect games.
Everything — especially a pitch count of 80 — is lining up to at least let Kershaw try. You cannot pull him.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 13, 2022
Unless Kershaw takes himself out, he should get the chance to finish this. You’re not asking him for 200 innings anyway. Let him go 110 today and skip his next start.
— Joe Sheehan (@joe_sheehan) April 13, 2022
If that’s it for Kershaw and he’s good with it, no argument here. But if he wants to stay in? Pretty simple. Let him pitch.
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) April 13, 2022
You HAVE to let Kershaw keep going. I understand it more with a young guy early in the year. But Clayton Kershaw is 6 outs away from a perfect game!! HAVE to let him try and finish it off!!
— Ben Verlander (@BenVerlander) April 13, 2022
We have to get fans back. We have to entertain our fans. We have to keep fans first in our minds. OK, then definitely let’s pull Clayton Kershaw from a perfect game through 7 innings and 80 pitches. #Ridiculous
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) April 13, 2022
If any pitcher in baseball should be allowed to decide if he’ll stay in to try and finish a perfect game, it’s Clayton Kershaw.
— M@ (@MattSpiegel670) April 13, 2022
Pulling Clayton Kershaw six outs away from a perfect game at 80 pitches should be a crime punishable by up to 90 years in prison. Come on.
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) April 13, 2022
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