For more than a decade, Clayton Kershaw was the player who made the organization’s mark. Throughout his illustrious career, Kershaw has delivered the Dodgers time and time again.
Entering the postseason with a depleted starting rotation, the Dodgers once again turned to Kershaw to save the day. This time, however, those who didn’t make it.
Kershaw allowed six runs and recorded just one against the D-backs in Game 1 of the NLDS, perhaps the worst start of his career.
Before the game at Dodger Stadium, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Kershaw was feeling better than he had in months. That’s an encouraging message, as Kershaw’s left shoulder was clearly not 100% just a few weeks ago. The Dodgers held their breath every time he took the mound.
But on Saturday, it was clear from the start that Kershaw wasn’t at his best. His slider lacks average depth and his 91mph four-seam fastball doesn’t strike anyone.
The D-backs’ offense capitalized on every mistake Kershaw made — and his defense.
Ketel Marte started the game with a strong line drive to center field. James Outman, who improved greatly at the position in the second half of the season, appeared to hit the ball, but it bounced off his glove, allowing Marte to reach second base.
Two pitches later, Corbin Carroll made the Dodgers pay with an RBI single. Tommy Pham followed with one of his own. Christian Walker, who has dominated Kershaw throughout his career, then doubled to give the D-backs a 2-0 lead. Gabriel Moreno then delivered an impressive hit on a 3-2 count, blasting a three-run home run that landed 15 down the left field pavilion.
It was the seventh time in Kershaw’s career that he has allowed five or more earned runs in a postseason game. It was the first time Kershaw had allowed six runs in a postseason inning since the seventh inning of Game 1 of the 2014 NLDS against the Cardinals.
Kershaw’s third inning marked the shortest outing of his postseason career.