MLB

Dodgers decline to extend qualifying offer to Kershaw

By Sports Desk November 07, 2021

The Los Angeles Dodgers declined to extend a qualifying offer to Clayton Kershaw as the veteran ace prepares to enter free agency amid uncertainty over his MLB future.

Kershaw, who did not pitch in the MLB playoffs as the Dodgers lost to the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series (NLCS) due to the recurrence of a forearm problem, has spent his entire 14-year career in Los Angeles.

The World Series champion and three-time Cy Young Award winner is a free agent following the conclusion of his three-year, $93million contract with the Dodgers.

While the Dodgers lodged offers to free agent All-Stars Corey Seager and Chris Taylor prior to Sunday's deadline – worth $18.4m for one year – there was none forthcoming for future Hall of Famer Kershaw.

However, the Dodgers are reportedly still keen on bringing Kershaw back to LA for at least one more season as both parties take time to determine the 33-year-old's health.

Kershaw – an eight-time All-Star and 2014 NL MVP – made his debut for the Dodgers in 2008.

In 2021, Kershaw finished with a 3.55 ERA, the worst of his illustrious career since his rookie year (4.26) with the Dodgers.

Kershaw had a 10-8 record this season with 144 strikeouts in 121.2 innings pitched.

Overall, Kershaw has a 185-84 win-loss record with 2,670 strikeouts and a career 2.49 ERA.

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    Barty became the first local in 44 years to win the Australian Open, beating Danielle Collins 6-3 7-6 (7-2) in the final on Saturday.

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    But Tyzzer said there was still growth left in Barty, who came from 5-1 down in the second set against Collins.

    "There's still areas we continue to work on still, she's got to get better at. I'm not going to tell what you they are because that's giving away a few too many secrets. But there's still room for improvement," he told a news conference.

    "I think what she's done really well is just she's enjoyed it. She's been really composed and enjoyed playing. Like tonight, we knew what the challenges were going to be, like Danielle can just blow you off the court at times. So she was looking forward to that challenge, 'Okay, how do I figure out how to beat this girl who can just hit you into the corners and hurt you every time you drop it short?'

    "I think for her that's the best part. She's enjoying playing, enjoying the challenges. There's still areas we'll work on with her game. I probably don't have to do too much with her serve now. It seems to be working really well.

    "But, yeah, you're always looking for areas to get better."

    Barty is the second active women's player to have won a grand slam on all three surfaces, joining Serena Williams.

    But Barty's chances of completing a career Grand Slam by winning the US Open rely on something out of her control – changing the balls.

    "The US Open really needs to change the ball for the girls, the fact they still use a different ball for guys and girls. It's a terrible ball for someone like Ash," Tyzzer said.

    "Even in Cincinnati when they use the US Open ball outside she could actually get some loft out of the court, but the ball itself is so light. It was the only tournament last year and really for two years where she uses a gut racquet, but I had to change her to a poly just to get any sort of control of the ball.

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    Ash Barty was staring at a nervy deciding set in the Australian Open final before she turned the second on its head to end the locals' drought.

    Barty became the first local Australian Open singles champion in 44 years by beating Danielle Collins 6-3 7-6 (7-2) on Saturday.

    Such a scoreline looked unlikely when Barty fell 5-1 behind in the second set in front of an electric Rod Laver Arena crowd.

    But, as she had all tournament despite the pressure and expectations, Barty stayed calm. She turned it around, riding a wave of momentum to seal victory in straight sets.

    From Collins' 5-1 lead, Barty hit 13 winners and just four unforced errors. Collins was three and nine respectively. But what really hurt the American was making just three of 12 first serves in the two games she was broken in.

    Stats Perform takes a closer look at what happened, with Collins two points away from forcing a third set on three separate occasions.

    Collins serving at 6-3 1-5
    Barty had served two double faults in the previous game to open the door widely to Collins. After the American missed a first serve, a loud cheer from the crowd was met by a disapproving finger wag from Barty, who followed that up with a forehand winner. Still, Collins found herself two points from the set at 30-30. But she sent a backhand well long before Barty forced another error with a powerful return. Collins made one of six first serves in the game.

    Barty serving at 6-3 2-5
    Barty raced into a 40-0 lead and, while Collins won the next two points, a long forehand helped her hold, putting pressure on the American.

    Collins serving at 6-3 3-5
    Collins again found herself two points from the set, leading 30-0. The response from Barty was phenomenal. Barty crushed a forehand return winner down the line before another forehand winner caught the back of the line to draw the game level at 30-30. Another big forehand return set up break point before Collins netted a backhand.

    Barty serving at 6-3 4-5
    Barty recovered from 0-15 to hold, with two big serves doing the damage, and Collins' momentum was well and truly gone.

    Collins serving at 6-3 5-5
    On the back of making four of five first serves, Collins steadied to end Barty's run of four straight games.

    Barty serving at 6-3 5-6
    For the third time, Collins found herself two points away from winning the set, with Barty in a 15-30 hole. But Barty came up big, delivering three consecutive unreturnable serves to force a tie-break.

    Tie-break
    Collins started the tie-break with a forehand that flew well long then returned a serve well long to fall 2-0 behind. That freed Barty up, the Australian crushing back-to-back winners, including a great smash, to open up a 4-0 lead she would not relinquish. Collins put a backhand return off a Barty second serve halfway up the net to fall 5-1 behind. A forehand cross-court passing shot winner sealed Barty's victory.

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