Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Post-WS Game 1 Thread: Clayton Kershaw, Postseason Stud

graphics courtesy ESPN screenshots


Just as I had tried to dispel the erroneous, hackneyed narrative forming on Dave Roberts late last night, tonight's piece is about Clayton Kershaw, Postseason Stud.

No longer should anyone hear the untrue narrative that Kershaw can't get it done in October. Kershaw has been lights-out this postseason, spinning a 13 K masterpiece over the Brewers in the Wild Card "Series", followed by a quality start against San Diego in Game 2. And sure, the NLCS Game 4 (5 IP, 4 ER, 1 BB and 4 Ks) would have been a horrible way to end.

But storylines can quickly change in baseball, so here we were, in a critical Game 1 vs. Tampa Bay, and Kershaw with the chance to erase those pesky doubts once and for all. Kershaw once again delivered a quality start, for the third time in four post-season starts this year. Tonight's gem was not only on the biggest stage, it was a particularly nice line in the box score: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB and 8 Ks, his only mistake being a home run to Kevin Kiermaier with two out in the fourth (Kershaw then proceeded to strike out Mike Zunino to curtail any momentum).

Seven of Kershaw's 8 Ks tonight were on sliders; the other was on a curve that was not used too much but still used effectively. Kershaw owned the Rays tonight; ESPN's Tim Kurkjian and Mark Teixeira said the Rays "had no chance" with Kershaw's slider in full force. And with the Rays unable to break through in the first six innings, the Dodgers (who had scored eight runs through six) were rolling.

With 201 postseason Ks, Kershaw is now second all-time behind only Justin Verlander for postseason Ks. And Kershaw might have a chance to surpass Verlander...but I'd be just fine if he didn't need to go out there again.

Let's just savor this one. Kershaw is a World Series game winner, deserving of the postseason accolades that complement his outstanding regular-season heroics. Now let's make Kershaw a World Series winner as well.


UPDATE 10/21 12:04a: Yikes, I just noticed that ESPN's Jeff Passan used a similar lede and theme to his post-game article.. Like Passan's article after NLCS Game 7, this one is a good read as well. And though I didn't see Passan's piece before posting this one, I suppose I had better take a different tack next time...


QuadSevens said...

If Kershaw does start another game this series and wins in commanding fashion like he did tonight, he’ll be in the talks for WS MVP.

Steve Sax said...

@Quad: Maybe he should already be there, now!