“I’m really disappointed and embarrassed. I feel like I let everybody down.”
Clayton Kershaw, 35, Los Angeles Dodgers, spoke of a frustration that is hard to put into words. Kershaw started Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California, and was pulled early after giving up six runs on six hits (one home run) and one walk in ⅓ of an inning.
Even for Kershaw, who had been weak in the fall, it was one pitch too many. Prior to this game, Kershaw had appeared in 38 postseason games (31 starts) with 13 wins and 12 losses. His postseason ERA is 4.22. This is well above Kershaw’s career regular season ERA of 2.48. The three-time Cy Young Award winner (2011, 2013, 2014) and 2014 MVP has been one of the most dominant lefties in major league history, but he’s always been viewed with suspicion in the postseason.
“I think he’s in the best shape he’s been in in the last month or so,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said in announcing Kershaw as the Game 1 starter. Just a few weeks ago, Kershaw’s left shoulder wasn’t 100%, and Roberts had a lot of faith in him.
Kershaw didn’t disappoint. He got off to a shaky start, giving up a leadoff double to Ketel Marte and then a bases-loaded single to Corbin Carroll for an early 0-1 lead. He then gave up a single to Tommy Pham to put runners on first and second and a double to left field to Christian Walker to make it 0-2.
With runners on second and third, Gabriel Moreno gave up a three-run homer to left field. The damage was done, as he allowed five straight hits and five runs. Kershaw managed to get the sixth batter, Ruedes Gurriel Jr. on a grounder to shortstop with one out, but he couldn’t last much longer. He walked Alec Thomas and then gave up a double to Evan Longoria up the middle to make it 0-6.
Eventually, Roberts took the ball away from Kershaw and handed it to Emmitt Sheehan. Kershaw had to come off the mound in the first inning and was booed by the Dodgers home fans. After returning to the dugout, Kershaw was unable to raise his head, slumped to one side, and was in obvious pain.
“I was really disappointed and panicked,” Kershaw told the American media after the game. I felt like I let down the whole organization, who were expecting me to pitch well in Game 1. It was really embarrassing,” he said.
It’s true that his pitches weren’t as good as they could have been, but it’s hard to say it was just bad luck. He threw a mix of fastballs (17), sliders (14) and curves (4), with his fastball topping out at 91.2 mph (146.8 km/h).
According to MLB.com, “Kershaw’s slider wasn’t as deep as usual, and his curve was blunter than usual. His fastball didn’t elicit any swings and misses from hitters.
Arizona starter Merrill Kelly, who pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings to earn his first win in his postseason debut, said, “Honestly, I was just trying to enjoy the moment (the six-run first inning). Watching our hitters take down one of the best pitchers we’ve ever seen in our lives.” Arizona didn’t expect Kershaw to fall apart like this.
But his Dodgers teammates rallied around him. “Look at him, he’s arguably one of the greatest pitchers of all time,” said catcher Will Smith, who received the ball directly from Kershaw. But he’s also human. He makes mistakes. I expect Kershaw to be back (to form) in a couple days, and he’s not going to miss that opportunity.”스포츠토토
First baseman Freddie Freeman said, “The next time Kershaw takes the mound, we’ll get our confidence back. We want Kershaw back on the mound.”
Roberts confirmed that Kershaw will start Game 4 as scheduled. “If you look at his stuff today (Aug. 8), you’d think he didn’t showcase his velocity and stuff, but I thought his command was good, and he just made a couple mistakes that Arizona capitalized on,” Roberts said. Kershaw will pitch Game 4.”
At the end of the day, Roberts and his Dodgers teammates believe that Kershaw is Kershaw. It’s up to Kershaw to repay that faith. “It’s tough to start the postseason,” he said. We still have a chance to make it up, but I shouldn’t have started the series the way I did,” he said, hoping the team could find a way to make it up.