Clayton Kershaw is a legend amongst men during the regular season.
The postseason, however? Not so much.
That all changed during the NLDS against the Washington Nationals. After grinding his way through 5 innings in a duel against Max Scherzer in game one, Kershaw knew his team needed him more than ever in game 4.
He came back to start on just three days rest and was able to make it through six innings unscathed. As he walked back to the mound Fox Sports 1 showed the graphic of what Kershaw’s ERA was through the first six innings and then what it was once he reached the seventh.
In 67 2/3 IP (innings 1-6) Kershaw had an ERA of 3.06. In 4 2/3 IP (inning number 7) his ERA is astounding. 28.93. That’s not Clayton Kershaw-esque.
Kershaw went on to walk two batters, including an epic at-bat with Bryce Harper that ended his day. Meanwhile, Daniel Murphy was able to come up with a clutch two out hit that tied the game, adding to Kershaw’s demise in the seventh inning while putting the Dodgers hopes of moving on in the playoffs in jeopardy.
Chase Utley was able to force a game 5 and give the Dodgers one last chance.
With Rich Hill starting in game 5 and only going 2 2/3 innings, and manager Dave Roberts before hand saying Kershaw was “absolutely unavailable” it seemed that the Dodgers were doomed. Kenley Jansen came in for Grant Dayton and threw 51 pitches. It was no surprise that (maybe it was to some) that Kershaw found his way to the bullpen to come in and save the Dodgers season. After Harper was walked by Jansen, Roberts found himself on the mound calling for the lefty.
Kershaw was immediately faced with his postseason demon from the year before. Daniel Murphy. He was able to diffuse Murpy and eventually struck out Wilmer Difo on a typical Kershaw curveball and send his team to the NLCS.
After the game Roberts was asked when it was expected to see Kershaw again. It was game 2. This came as no surprise, especially with Kershaw’s workhorse attitude. This time around Kershaw was facing a tough Cubs lineup with his team down 1-0 in the series.
How did Kershaw respond? Seven strong innings of shutout baseball while taking a perfect game into the fifth innings. The one scare was a Javier Baez ball struck to center that pushed center fielder back to the warning track to make a catch to keep the 1-0 lead in tact. Jansen came in and pitched a perfect two innings as he closed the door to send the series back to Los Angeles for games three and four with the series tied at one.
As for Kershaw, it seems as if he’s found his stride during the postseason and if the series goes the Dodgers way in Los Angeles expect to see Clayton Kershaw in game 5 to try and close the out the series.