So I rushed down to the clubhouse right after the game. The clubhouse is open basically ten minutes or so after the game ends, and when I got there the only other person who was down there with me was Ken Gurnick of mlb.com. Soon, though, the whole herd was there, and about twenty of us filed into Don Mattingly's office for post-game interviews...
- Mattingly couldn't be more effusive about Clayton Kershaw's complete game performance tonight. "Kershaw is my first 17 game winner," said Mattingly. "He was good, especially late; he was going so easy late in the game. It was a little rough early and he had a lot of pitches but suddenly he settled in and got into the groove. There might have been negotiations late in the game, but his changeup and slider were getting in there. I think from pitches 70 to 105 he was basically on cruise control."
- Mattingly did not consider removing Kershaw even when Nick Hundley reached with two out on a ball that ricocheted off of Aaron Miles' glove. (Hundley advanced to second on fielders' (and reporters') indifference, and then got to third on a wild pitch. But Kershaw struck out Logan Forsythe to end the game.
- One more about Kershaw: Mattingly said "Clayton is as good as anyone out there; he's been 'that guy' all year long."
- Mattingly liked how Andre Ethier swung the bat tonight (Ethier had a double, his 29th, in the fourth inning and came around to score that inning; Ethier went 3-for-4).
- Mattingly also praised the play of James Loney tonight, particularly on the fifth-inning double play that Loney started. Mattingly also said "it was a big HR there to get us two runs" regarding Loney's third-inning shot.
- Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times asked Mattingly if the modest attendance (announced at 29.7K) was disappointing. I'm sure it was, but Mattingly didn't get into details.
Then I went into the clubhouse to catch other players as they gave their comments. The crowd was gathered around Clayton Kershaw, who said the following:
- "In the sixth/seventh/eighth, it felt good; I was getting my curves and changes over the plate."
- "The double plays helped. James' DP helped and James had an awesome game tonight."
- "It's flattering to be mentioned in the Cy Young discussion, but honestly I'm not thinking about it much. I don't have personal goals, I think it's kind of limiting. I will enjoy this win tonight and come back tomorrow...I've got five starts left and a lot can happen."
- Kershaw talked with the press corps for quite some time and was very articulate reflecting on his game tonight.
Next came Rick Honeycutt, pitching coach. Honeycutt was equally praising of Kershaw, who "didn't try and overdo it" tonight. "There were a lot of great changeups and his slider was good," said Honeycutt. "If the season were to end today, [Kershaw would] get the Cy Young, without a doubt." Honeycutt also referenced the small attendance tonight by saying that "fans should want to see this young man pitch; it's a pleasure to see him work." Rod Barajas also added some insight about Kershaw.
- "It seems like every time he goes out there, Kershaw really 'pitches,'" said Barajas.
- "It seemed at times like [Kershaw] didn't have his best stuff, and yet he figures out a way to get it done. As a defensive player you like the quick pace, for a while there we went away from the slider, he didn't have a feel for it until the end of the game (struck out last two guys on It).
- "Last year catching Kershaw, we relied mainly on the fastball. This year, to have the ability and confidence to use those pitches, it makes him that much better."
- Barajas was polite about a lot of other NL pitchers but praised Kershaw's consistency. "For me, Kershaw is the best pitcher in the game." Gurnick tried to get Barajas to compare Kershaw to Johnson, and Barajas praised Kershaw's finesse as well as power.
There were some other players in the clubhouse, many nursing ice packs on one or two extremities. It's that time of the year, I suppose.