By Jon Weisman
The fastball was there. The pinpoint command on breaking pitches … maybe not quite so consistent.
But the main thing for Clayton Kershaw, in his return from 10 1/2 weeks on the disabled list, will be how he felt between innings and how he feels in the coming days.
Because even though Kershaw allowed two runs on five hits in an abbreviated, three-inning start at Miami, tonight offered plenty of glimpses of the superstar the Dodgers hope will lead them into October.
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Kershaw’s fastball sat at 93-94 mph, and he struck out five. The last of those came on his 66th and final pitch, and made him the first pitcher in MLB history to reach 150 strikeouts in a season without first walking at least 10. Tonight, Kershaw walked none for the 113th, 114th and 115th innings out of the 124 that he has now thrown this season.
In the process, he certainly exerted himself. Under the air-conditioned dome of Marlins Park, Kershaw fired bullets and sweat more of them — no more so than in a 29-pitch second inning. He also made an on-the-run, awkwardly lunging attempt to throw out Christian Yelich on a soft comebacker, then soon after had to duck out of the way of a 91 mph liner up the middle from opposing pitcher Jose Fernandez.