Rockies’ Bud Black: Pulling Clayton Kershaw out of perfect game was right call – The Denver Post

Bud Black knew the question was coming.

“A hot topic! On fire!”

The subject, of course, was the decision by Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to pull future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw after seven innings in Wednesday day’s game at Minnesota, thus depriving Kershaw of a chance to throw a perfect game.

Kershaw, who threw a no-hitter against the Rockies on June 18, 2014, at Dodger Stadium, thoroughly dominated the Twins on Wednesday, striking out 13 of the 21 batters he faced and throwing just 80 pitches. But Roberts concluded that allowing the lefty to go further wasn’t worth the risk.

“This was a pretty straightforward case of the Dodgers knowing Clayton Kershaw’s ability to throw 100-110 pitches to try to complete that perfect game,” Black said. “And they had to weigh that against the risk of physical injury to the arm, potentially, and, on a big scale, what was important.”

Kershaw, 34, made only 22 starts last season and missed the entire postseason because of left forearm and elbow pain. Plus, Kershaw is 34, the temperature at Target Field was only 38 degrees and a shortened spring training due to the lockout means that teams are being careful with starter’s early-season pitch counts.

Kershaw told reporters he had no problems with Roberts lifting him after seven innings.

“Those are selfish goals,” Kershaw said of chasing perfection. “We’re trying to win. That’s really all we’re here for.”

Roberts talked with the lefty after the sixth inning and the three-time National League Cy Young Award winner told his manager that he wanted to pitch one more inning and limit his pitch count to 85.

“I would have loved to have stayed, but bigger things, man, bigger things,” Kershaw told reporters.

Added Black: “That decision did not surprise me at all. I can say with relative (assurance) that there was no controversy in the Dodgers clubhouse.”

Rockies right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, 34, had a slightly different take.

“Well, Clayton has thrown a no-hitter before, against us. I remember, I was there,” said Chacin, who’s a reliever now but has started 227 games in his career. “So that was the best decision for him. But if I’m the one pitching, I’m not going to let them take me out with a chance for a no-hitter or perfect game.

“For me? They would have to pull me off the mound. I don’t think I would let Buddy take me out.”

Lambert’s path. Right-hander Peter Lambert remains on the 10-day injured list with a sore right forearm. Lambert is in Scottsdale, Ariz., at the team’s spring training complex.

“We have been taking it really cautious with Peter,” Black said. “He’s going to (get on) the mound, hopefully within the next week. With that, he will progress to being able to pitch in a major league game.”

Lambert, obviously, would have to pitch in some minor-league games before he would be ready to rejoin the Rockies.

“The Catch.” Right fielder Charlie Blackmon doesn’t show a lot of emotion on the field but he went a little bonkers Tuesday night when center fielder Randal Grichuk made a leaping catch at the center-field wall to rob the Rangers’ Corey Seager of a three-run homer. The Rockies won the game 4-1 at Globe Life Field.

“I was pumped, jumping around, doing stuff I never do,” Blackmon said. “I was screaming and yelling at him all the way across the field. That was the greatest play I’ve seen, certainly the greatest play I’ve been that close to. It was incredible.”

Sixth starter. Black said that should someone in the rotation go down and the Rockies needed another starter, he would not turn to lefty long reliever Ty Blach. Rather, Black would likely turn to right-hander Ryan Feltner, who’s currently pitching in Triple-A.

On Deck
Cubs RHP Marcus Stroman (0-0, 1.80) at Rockies RHP German Marquez (0-0, 1.29)
6:40 p.m. Friday, Coors Field
TV: ATTRM
Radio: 850 AM/94.1 FM

Although Marquez did not pick up a win in the Rockies’ 3-2 win over the Dodgers last Saturday, he pitched like an ace, allowing one run on three hits with no walks and five strikeouts over seven innings. Through Wednesday’s games, he was one of just four big-league starters to toss seven innings. Against the Cubs, however, his numbers are not good: 1-2 with a 7.53 ERA in six starts. He pitched against them once last season, allowing five runs on seven hits across three innings in the Rockies’ 13-10 win at Wrigley Field on Aug. 25. The right-hander has apparently figured out how to tame Coors Field, going 8-3 (the Rockies 14-4) with a 3.67 ERA in 18 starts at home in 2021.

Stroman, who signed a free-agent deal with the Cubs during the offseason, is on a roll. The right-hander has allowed three runs or fewer in 14 of his last 16 starts since July 10 of last season, posting a 3.39 ERA during that stretch. In his Cubs debut, he allowed one run on two hits, with three walks and three strikeouts vs. Milwaukee. He recorded 11 groundball outs in that game. Stroman has dominated the Rockies, going 3-1 with a 1.29 ERA in four starts, his best against any opponent. He was 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA vs. Colorado in 2011, and he’s 2-1 with a 1.63 ERA in three starts at Coors Field.

Trending: Cubs shortstop Jonathan Villar has lit up the Rockies at Coors Field, hitting .349 (15-for-43) with a .952 OPS in 13 career games (entering Thursday night’s series opener).

At issue: Second baseman Brendan Rodgers is off to a chilly start. He entered Thursday night’s game hitting .105 (2-for-19) with seven strikeouts, no extra-base hits and one RBI.

Pitching probables
Saturday: Cubs TBA at Rockies RHP Antonio Senzatela (0-0, 2.70), 6:10 p.m., ATTRM
Sunday: Cubs LHP Drew Smyly (1-0, 0.00) at Rockies LHP Austin Gomber (0-0, 5.79), 1:10 p.m., ATTRM
Monday: Phillies RHP Aaron Nola (1-1, 6.75) at Rockies RHP Chad Kuhl (0-0, 2.08), 6:40 p.m., ATTRM

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