Tigers will miss Clayton Kershaw again, when Dodgers come to town
DETROIT — The Tigers will have their hands full with the fellow first-place-dwelling Los Angeles Dodgers in the next series.
They won’t have to deal with Clayton Kershaw, though.
“I wish him well. ... I’m not necessarily concerned about Clayton Kershaw, but I’m not unhappy that he’s starting on Thursday,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “I’d like to see him, give him a hug, and then watch him pitch on TV on Thursday.”
The Dodgers left-hander and two-time Cy Young winner — who extended his streak of scoreless innings to 36 on Friday — will not be moved up to face the Tigers in the brief, two-game series on Tuesday or Wednesday. With an off day Monday — like the Tigers — manager Don Mattingly chose to keep his rotation in line, and give everyone an extra day’s rest, meaning Kershaw will throw again on Thursday ... after the Dodgers leave town.
“In two-game series, especially, the odds go down of facing a particular guy,” said Ausmus, who texted with Mattingly on Friday, but didn’t swap rotation plans. “I’m sure Donnie wants to give his pitchers an extra day of rest, as well, just like we’re planning to do with ours.”
Kershaw was on the disabled list the first time the two teams met, in Los Angeles in April.
Ausmus and Kershaw worked together for parts of two seasons, 2009 and 2010, after the former catcher joined the Dodgers as a free agent.
“He was fun to catch,” Ausmus recalled. “I knew he was good. Really, his whole trajectory changed when he started throwing the slider. I think he was going to be good, but I think the slider is what has really made him great. The amazing thing about the slider is that he threw it once in the bullpen, and took it into his next start. He’s really kind of taken off since the slider.
“He’s always had the velocity, always had the big curveball, was the one game-changer for him, I think.”