Clayton Kershaw has long faced criticism about his pitching in the postseason, and his outing on Wednesday night will only give fuel to his critics.
Kershaw gave some hope that he would be able to step up and close out Game 5 of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers when he struck out Adam Eaton with two outs and two on in the top of the seventh. He had escaped the jam and came through for the Dodgers to preserve a 3-1 lead … but that was until the eighth inning.
Kershaw began the eighth by allowing back-to-back home runs to Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto.
Frustrating fans even more, Kenta Maeda then relieved Kershaw and struck out the next three batters to end the inning.
Many Dodgers fans felt southpaw Adam Kolarek would have been the better option to face lefty Eaton than Kershaw, and that Maeda would have been the better choice for the eighth. Maeda had been nearly perfect in the postseason, while Kershaw was not very sharp in a Game 2 loss and does not often pitch in this role.
The Nationals scored three runs in the first two innings, starting with Turner’s leadoff double, and definitely seemed to be on Kershaw’s curveball. This alone fails to explain Kershaw’s issues. After all, he hit two batters in those two innings after hitting just two all season. Kershaw also largely settled down after his first two innings, so it’s interesting that this video came from pretty late in the game. Still, it would provide a bit more context to his early-inning struggles.
Madison Bumgarner on Sunday received potentially his last standing ovation as a member of the San Francisco Giants.
Bumgarner is in the final season of his contract and will be a free agent this offseason. He was originally schedule to start Sunday but he and manager Bruce Bochy decided to scrap that in favor of a different plan. We learned later what that plan was — Bochy decided to have Bumgarner pinch hit in the fifth for Brandon Crawford so he could face longtime nemesis Clayton Kershaw.
Bumgarner tipped his helmet after getting the standing ovation.
Madison Bumgarner just came in to pinch hit against Clayton Kershaw in what might be his final appearance in a #SFGiants uniform.
Bochy is retiring and Bumgarner may be moving on, which ends a great period of rivalry. Not only were Bumgarner and Kershaw star pitchers for their respective teams this decade and competitors in the NL West, but the two also hit against each other. Bumgarner has faced Kershaw more than any other pitcher in his career (24 times) and has clubbed two home runs off him.
Dave Roberts had a little bit of fun with Clayton Kershaw’s dugout episode during Friday’s loss to the San Francisco Giants.
Speaking with reporters on Saturday, the Los Angeles Dodgers manager had a hilarious response to his star lefty kicking a cooler in the dugout after Roberts pulled him from the game in just the fifth inning.
Clayton Kershaw was pulled early in Friday night’s Los Angeles Dodgers-San Francisco Giants game and was not happy about it.
Kershaw was lifted in the top of the fifth inning after allowing a leadoff single and walking Kevin Pillar on a 3-2 pitch. When he headed into the dugout after being pulled, the Dodgers southpaw kicked a cooler in the dugout.
The kick probably wasn’t as painful as what transpired, though. Dylan Floro came in and gave up four runs to blow the tie game (two runs were charged to Kershaw). That was the difference as the Giants won 5-4.
Kershaw has now lost three straight starts for the first time since 2015, according to the team.
Yu Darvish will likely get booed when he makes his return to Los Angeles this weekend, but one ex-teammate does not think he deserves harsh treatment.
Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw spoke Friday on Darvish ahead of the Chicago Cubs righty’s first start at Dodger Stadium since giving up five runs in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series to sink the Dodgers’ championship hopes.
“People forget fast that we’re not in that position without him,” said Kershaw, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. “Fans have the right to boo players who don’t perform, there’s no doubt about it. I just think when you’re in here in the clubhouse with the team and you know everything we go through on a day-in, day-out basis and you know Yu performed really well up to that point, pitched two really big games to get into the World Series – against the Diamondbacks and the Cubs.
“We wouldn’t even have been in that position without him,” Kershaw added. “People forget that fast and I understand that. But to us, to me – he was a big contributor to us being there in the first place. That’s kind of how I think about it.”
Darvish, who was acquired by the Dodgers at the 2017 trade deadline, was with them for just a few months before leaving to sign with the Cubs as a free agent. That Game 7 implosion proved to be Darvish’s final game as a Dodger.
Though their careers aren’t yet over, there are a number of MLB players who have likely already done enough to punch their ticket to the Hall of Fame after they quit playing. There are other young players who have started promisingly, but a handful of veterans have really stood out and put together resumes that will be hard to deny when their names come up on the Hall of Fame ballot after their retirement. Some are still producing at a high level, while some are not, but all of them should be treasured as long as they are still entertaining us with their talents.
Here are ten active MLB players who warrant strong Hall of Fame consideration — if they haven’t all but clinched it already.
10. CC Sabathia, SP, Yankees
Sabathia has a clear Hall of Fame case, but it’s a somewhat murky one. His peak was certainly good enough, but his 3.69 career ERA is somewhat high for a Hall of Famer. And, despite some memorable postseason exploits, he doesn’t have the playoff resume to stand out, either, and only won the Cy Young once. Still, it’s easy to see how Sabathia gets in. His longevity and consistency ensure he should get to 250 wins, and he’s already surpassed 3,000 strikeouts. Plus, his history of clutch pitching — including his stretch run with Milwaukee — could play on voters’ minds.