Yesterday Clayton Kershaw got pulled after pitching seven perfect innings, and it’s okay. The Dodgers ultimately defeated the Twins in a non-perfect manner—they gave up a hit and therefore a bit of baseball history. Today there are “Should Clayton Kershaw Have Been Pulled?” posts on various websites.
To be sure, a perfect game would have been cool, and Kershaw was totally dominating. He not not only faced the minimum 21 batters through 7, 13 of them struck out. However, it needs to be remembered Kershaw has a back injury history, and this was his first regular season start after a short spring training. Is that neat bit of trivia of having a perfect game worth risking tweaking the back by overwork? He himself didn’t think so, and that’s why this is no controversy, pundits’ opinions notwithstanding. He and Dave Roberts actually talked before the sixth—in other words, when they both knew what was brewing—and Kershaw said he wanted to go seven and should be on an 85 pitch count. (He ultimately dealt 80 pitches.)
In Kershaw’s words after the game: “Bigger things, man.”