Slowdown: Dodgers unconcerned by velocity dips from Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen

first_imgLOS ANGELES – The Dodgers have leaned heavily on Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen during their postseason runs the past few years.That, as much as the numbers themselves, make it noteworthy that both pitchers showed decreased velocity in their regular season debuts. In his opening day start, Kershaw’s fastball averaged 91 mph, two ticks off his career average. That continued a trend from spring training (even as Kershaw posted a 0.00 spring ERA).And Friday night, Jansen never topped 89 mph in his first inning of the season – an inning that included Joe Panik crushing an 89 mph cutter for the winning home run and joining Paul Goldschmidt as the only players to homer off both Jansen and Kershaw in the same season. Jansen’s cut fastball (which he throws 92 percent of the time) has averaged 93 mph during his career.In both cases, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the slowdown can be explained and is not setting off alarm bells. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season In Kershaw’s case, it could just be the natural evolution of a pitcher who just turned 30 and has more than 2,000 innings on his arm. By Fangraphs’ measure, Kershaw’s average fastball velocity has declined each of the past three years – from 93.6 in 2015 to 93.1 in 2016 and a career-low 92.7 last year.“I don’t know,” Kershaw said when asked about Thursday’s 91 mph average. “I’d always like to throw harder. I’d like to throw 100 if you let me.”Jansen did not handle questions about his velocity with as much humor as Kershaw. Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire center_img Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start The Dodgers closer responded “Who cares?” to questions about his failure to top 90 mph after the loss Friday night. Roberts offered an explanation that a dip in velocity is almost always associated with a problem in Jansen’s delivery.Jansen rejected that explanation in the emotion following Friday’s loss. But Saturday afternoon, he was in the Dodgers’ bullpen early working on those mechanics. He acknowledged that he was “out of sync” Friday.“I was trying too hard yesterday,” he said. “It’s like I was young again and was trying to impress, know what I’m saying? I’m not an excuse guy but – first time out after a World Series, this is a learning process too.“It was nothing. I was out of sync. If I figure it out today, you might see 94 and everybody will be like, ‘Why didn’t you do that yesterday?’ People don’t understand. Sometimes your mechanics are out of whack.”It could be “a minor little thing” that puts Jansen’s delivery back in order, Roberts said, and Jansen offered that he had made an adjustment with the way he lifted his front leg.“There have been times when my mechanics are off and I punch out three guys,” Jansen said. “I get away with it. Last night, I didn’t get away with it.”DAY OFFRoberts gave shortstop Corey Seager the day off Saturday, part of a plan to remain mindful of Seager’s elbow issues last season. For his part, Seager said his elbow feels fine and he has had no pain this spring. The Dodgers eased him into spring training, playing him at DH deep into the Cactus League schedule, and Roberts said he intended to give Seager – and each of the Dodgers’ regulars – a day off in the first week of the season.“It just makes sense for his elbow, his body, just kind of getting back in game shape,” Roberts said. “My goal is before the first off day (on Thursday), try to give each of these guys a day off.”With Seager out, Kiké Hernandez started at shortstop, Logan Forsythe moved to second base and Kyle Farmer made his first big-league start at third base. Roberts said the alignment was planned before Forsythe made three errors at third base in Friday’s loss and was not a response to that. Forsythe was the first Dodger to make three errors in a game since Dee Gordon made three at shortstop on August 11, 2013 against the Tampa Bay Rays.“That’ll be the last time, I can assure you, that will happen to Logan,” Roberts said. “Just one of those nights – one I’m sure he wants to forget.”UP NEXT: Giants RHP Chris Stratton (4-4, 3.68 ERA in 2017) at Dodgers LHP Rich Hill (12-8, 3.32 ERA in 2017), 5:30 p.m., ESPN Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies “I think with Clayton there is a little bit of a down tick in velocity,” Roberts said. “Still the swings that guys are taking on him, his command all throughout the spring, the secondary pitches have all been sharp. If you’re looking at strictly velocity with Clayton, I’m really not too concerned about it.“There’s obviously a little more with Kenley. The thing for us is if Kenley says he’s healthy and the training staff and the strength staff say he’s healthy, he’ll be fine. He misfired last night. I know he was frustrated. No one cares more than Kenley. … He was a guy two days after the World Series who was running stairs. So no one cares more than Kenley. There will be an uptick in velocity at some point. As long as he’s healthy and Clayton’s healthy, we’re not too concerned.”Related Articleslast_img read more

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Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma keeps churning through busy summer at Team USA camp

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersAs Davis, the Lakers’ new star, works to ingrain himself into his new team and town, Kuzma, 24, has his eyes firmly set on a trip to China this summer for the FIBA World Cup. The roster practicing in Las Vegas this week under coach Gregg Popovich is characterized by who’s missing as much as who is available: Davis, James Harden, Bradley Beal, DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love are among the players who declined invitations to play this summer. Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton and Kyle Lowry are the only 2019 All-Stars who are attending a camp typically defined by headliner talent.It’s surely a bit demanding: The 40-day experience will call for a trek through Southern California, Australia and eventually China, where a relatively untested group will be thrown in with the best competition international basketball can offer. Kuzma, who has gone from a fringe roster candidate to a near lock to make the final cut, is fully bought in.“At the end of the day, I love playing basketball,” he said. “Can’t take it for granted. When I’m 37, 38, I would look back and ask, ‘Why didn’t I play FIBA when I was 24?’ I want to live with no regrets.”Kuzma generally has few. But one thing he wished he hadn’t done last season was take too long off. This offseason has been a blur: Kuzma already has visited China this summer, on behalf of Nike and working on other business ventures. Beyond appearances at Summer League alongside Davis and LeBron James, he also headed up another year of his summer camp in Michigan, and has generally been jet-setting since April.Donovan Mitchell, another Team USA roster hopeful and a close friend, says Kuzma’s stacked schedule is something he admires. They take cues from each other: When Kuzma hired a personal chef, Mitchell decided he needed one, too. He saw Kuzma working out immediately after he came back from overseas last time, and it inspired Mitchell to jump back onto the court after he did some traveling himself, he said. Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years center_img Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed “We push each other to be better,” he said. “That relationship allows us to push each other in different ways. Not a lot of friends do that.”Team USA could be a watershed moment for not only Kuzma, but for the 2017 draft class. Boston’s Jayson Tatum, Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox and Miami’s Bam Adebayo are also among the players in camp this week, seizing advantage of the stars’ absences.Related Articles LAS VEGAS – Though they’re all wearing the same jersey for the next few weeks, Kyle Kuzma has only started getting used to being surrounded by enemies.Not enemies per se — just NBA rivals. But it’s a pronounced imbalance: Between the Team USA senior men’s national team and the Select Team roster, the Celtics, Kings, Nets, Bucks, Nuggets and Hawks are among the teams with multiple players on the court at UNLV during training camp.As the only Lakers representative, he can feel a little outnumbered.“It’s lonely,” he said, with a hint of tongue-in-cheek. “My boy [Anthony Davis] was supposed to come, but he’s got other plans.” Kuzma said he thinks his all-around game has developed over the summer since the Lakers ended their season in April. Video clips of his improved shooting stroke have circulated online, and it could be a moment for him to showcase improved perimeter offense that he’s expected to bring next year.“Keeping it high, using my wrists and be strong flicking it, use my legs,” he said. “I don’t want to be overthinking it. Just those three things, and trust the process.”The early days of camp have helped Kuzma and the rest of his Team USA mates break down their NBA rivalries. He said over time, he expects to “smash” some of the walls between his regular season foes.But he’s taking notes as well: “You kind of get the tendencies for guys and what they wanna do. You see how a lot of that plays into guys getting recruited to play with each other, or scouting teams come playoff time.”last_img read more

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