Although the Los Angeles Dodgers are enjoying another excellent MLB campaign in the NL West in 2023, starter Clayton Kershaw is not happy with how he's been performing lately.

The 35-year-old had his last start skipped as he continues to deal with a nagging shoulder injury. Although his start was pushed back, manager Dave Roberts assured reporters that the veteran left-hander is not in danger of requiring a stint on the injured list.

Still, Kershaw knows he can be better as October baseball looms.

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“I'm not gonna lie, it's been hard,” Kershaw said last week, according to The Athletic's Fabian Ardaya.

“It's been hard mentally. You just kind of feel like a shell of yourself at times. But it's worth it. It's worth it in the end. I still enjoy it. I still enjoy the grind of it. I still enjoy trying to be at my best every single time. That part doesn't change. It just might be a little bit harder to get there. For me, it's all about performance at this point.”

Kershaw has been a key piece of an ever-changing rotation despite his recent struggles. With Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin out for the year after major elbow surgery, and Walker Buehler not returning to the team this season, the pitching is a question mark.

The team has had five rookie pitchers take the mound this season, and more could be in the mix come October, per Ardaya. With nine days rest, Clayton Kershaw will take to the mound against Bryce Miller and the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night.

“After the way I pitched last game,” Kershaw admitted. “I look at it as an open tryout. I really do. It makes the games more meaningful going down the stretch. Looking forward to the challenge. I think for myself personally, I need it to prove to myself that I'm still good enough.”

Despite a few forgettable trips to the mound, Clayton Kershaw is still a key piece of a battered rotation. With a 2.61 ERA over 21 starts, the Dodgers will need him if they hope to bring another World Series title to Los Angeles.