Clayton Kershaw stepping up for short-handed Dodgers, grateful for gift 'God gave me'

Clayton Kershaw is not having the best statistical season of his outstanding career, but he might mean more to the Los Angeles Dodgers now at the age of 35 than he has at any point in his previous 15 seasons with the team. While the other four members of the team’s initial starting rotation are on the injured list, Kershaw became the first National League pitcher to reach the 10-win mark Tuesday.

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The three-time Cy Young Award winner and 2020 World Series champion gave up one hit in six innings against the Colorado Rockies, the third time in four starts he went at least six innings without allowing a run.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts praised Kershaw recently for being able to deliver for the team without putting too much pressure on himself.

“For him to obviously realize that but accept the responsibility, but not add pressure to himself — it’s a skill that’s certainly been tested and learned,” Roberts said. “The way he goes about things, man, he’s so consistent. I just can’t imagine where we’d be without him.”

Kershaw is 10-4 on the season with a 2.55 ERA that is the fifth-lowest in baseball through Wednesday’s games. The Dodgers are 44-35 and holding onto the final wild-card spot in the NL.

For all his success on the mound, Kershaw has been intentional about trying to leave a legacy that is built on faith and service. He told FCA Magazine in 2018 that he wants to use the gifts he’s been given to honor God both on and off the field.

“I didn’t do anything to deserve this gift,” Kershaw said. “God gave me an ability to throw a baseball. He chose me for a reason, and I want to honor Him with that. You can’t control the talents He gives you, no doubt about that. But you can control the effort you put forth with those talents.”

One of the primary ways Kershaw serves is through Kershaw’s Challenge, which is a non-profit organization supporting vulnerable and at-risk children in Los Angeles, Dallas, Zambia and the Dominican Republic. He runs the organization with his wife, Ellen.


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It was her passion for international ministry that helped spark a similar passion in him and ultimately led to Kershaw’s Challenge. Kershaw believes God brought he and his wife together because of the way their passions and callings compliment each other.

“I always say, when you get a gift like being able to throw a baseball, I didn’t do anything to deserve that. It was just a gift given to me,” he recently told D Magazine. “So, how do you use that? I think that’s why God gave me Ellen, and I think that’s why she had that vision of Africa. I think it was all intertwined.”

In 2021, Clayton and Ellen joined Sports Spectrum’s “Table Forty” podcast to talk about baseball, serving and faith. During the conversation, Kershaw explained that his goal is to stand out because of his relationship with Christ.

“If Jesus really is who He says He is … and He really did rise from the dead, then that should change our lives,” he said on the podcast. “That should look drastically different than any other religion and any other thing in our world. We should be different than any other types of people in this world because of what we believe in Jesus.”

Kershaw is expected to make his next start despite leaving Tuesday’s game after throwing just 79 pitches. The Dodgers finish their series against the Rockies on Thursday night. First pitch is at 8:40 p.m. ET.

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