PHOENIX -- In only a two-inning start, Clayton Kershaw again showed why he is today's gold standard for pitching. The Dodgers still march Minor League pitchers over just to watch his pregame warmup. Kershaw still dominates, as he did throwing two perfect innings Thursday in the Dodgers' 4-2 win over Cleveland.
PHOENIX -- In only a two-inning start, Clayton Kershaw again showed why he is today's gold standard for pitching. The Dodgers still march Minor League pitchers over just to watch his pregame warmup. Kershaw still dominates, as he did throwing two perfect innings Thursday in the Dodgers' 4-2 win over Cleveland. Kershaw was so good, he pitched out of the stretch with nobody on base, just because he needed the practice.
Kershaw was just one in a parade of serious pitchers the Dodgers used. Closer Kenley Jansen made his Cactus League debut, Sergio Romo made his Dodgers debut by striking out the side and Alex Wood continued his bid to return to the rotation with two scoreless innings.
"Fastball command a little better today and curveball command probably not as good," said Kershaw, who threw 23 pitches before adding an inning in the bullpen. "My curveball was breaking like I wanted it to, but I was a little short, maybe threw one or two in the strike zone. The rest bounced. I was trying to get it into the strike zone and wasn't able to do that."
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Kershaw said that after a 1-2-3 first inning, he decided he would pitch out of the stretch at some point in the second inning whether there was a baserunner or not. His only strikeout, of Chris Colabello, came out of the stretch.
Jansen's first outing since signing a five-year, $80 million deal was marred by a run created when center fielder Alvin Toles misplayed a liner into a triple, with the run later scoring on shortstop Chris Taylor's error. But Jansen turned that into a positive, saying he was able to work on his slider with the extended (17-pitch) inning.
"It felt awesome to be back out there in this uniform," said Jansen. "I'm a happy man, happy to be around here. It was an exciting day for me. Got good results. The scoreboard won't say that. But my fastball command was good."
Romo, the former Giant, sounded even more excited about his first game ever in a Dodgers uniform.
"I was beyond excited," said Romo. "I wouldn't call it jitters, just a childhood dream, be in the big leagues with this jersey and my dad was here to see me do it for the first time. Thankfully, it went well, I was able to throw some quality pitches. My arm felt fine and it was fun to feel that adrenaline again and the strikeouts were just a bonus."
Wood allowed a two-out baserunner in each of his two scoreless innings, but impressed manager Dave Roberts nonetheless.
"Alex had a good change today, threw some good back-foot sliders to the righties, fastball command to the arm side was good," said Roberts. "I love his tempo and to come in there and piggybacking Clayton, he's a competitor and he made pitches today."
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.