Dodgers’ Kershaw exits start vs. Brewers early

Clayton Kershaw exited his final regular-season start early Friday night in Los Angeles, coming out with two outs in the second inning after throwing 42 pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers.

A reason for his exit was not immediately provided.

Kershaw, a pending free agent on a Dodgers team that could potentially end its season in Wednesday’s National League wild card game, received a rousing ovation from the Dodger Stadium crowd on his walk back to the dugout.

Kershaw held on to the baseball rather than hand it off to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts when walking off the mound.

Kershaw, 33, was making his fourth start after missing more than two months because of elbow inflammation. He allowed the same amount of hits as he recorded outs (five) and was charged with three earned runs, allowing five batted balls that traveled faster than 95 mph. It marked the first time in any game in the Statcast era (since 2015) that at least half the batters Kershaw faced had a hard-hit ball against him.

The lefty’s 2021 regular season ends with a 3.55 ERA in 121⅔ innings. The question is what, if anything, he can provide in the postseason.

The Dodgers entered Friday two games behind the San Francisco Giants in the NL West with three games remaining. If they miss out on their ninth consecutive division title, they’ll host the St. Louis Cardinals next week. Max Scherzer would be set to start opposite the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright.

ESPN Stats & Information was used in this report.

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