Clayton Kershaw faced the media after blowing a 3-1 lead in Game 5 of the NLDS on Wednesday night by allowing back-to-back home runs, and he did not shy away from the truth.
Kershaw, who now has a 4.41 career postseason ERA, admitted after the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 7-3 loss to the Washington Nationals in 10 innings that all the talk about his playoff struggles are true.
“It’s a terrible feeling. I had one job to do — get three outs. No excuses — just didn’t make pitches,” Kershaw said. “I’m not going to hang my head. I’m going to be here, I’m going to try to fight, try to compete. I’m not going to shy away from it; (I will) continue to do it. Everything people say is true right now about the postseason, I understand that. It’s a terrible feeling. It really is. I’m not going to hang my head.”
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) October 10, 2019
He can’t really hide or deny it. He gave up back-to-back home runs to blow the lead. He got the big strikeout in the 7th, but he could not have been worse in the 8th. There isn’t really anything else to say.
- Clayton Kershaw
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.
— MLB (@MLB) October 10, 2019
The southpaw was gutted after allowing the big blasts to tie the game 3-3.
A picture is worth a thousand words pic.twitter.com/LLkysLvo59
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 10, 2019
Clayton Kershaw Struggle pic.twitter.com/kkTO3Uytb8
— 3030 (@jose3030) October 10, 2019
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.
Kershaw entered the game with a career 4.33 postseason ERA, which only rose after the outing. Kershaw admitted after his Dodgers lost 7-3 in 10 innings that all the narratives about his postseason struggles were true at the time.
The Washington Nationals had Clayton Kershaw’s number early in Game 2 of the NLDS. They may have had something on his pitches, too.
TBS cameras caught Nationals shortstop Trea Turner in the dugout in the sixth inning seemingly explaining how to tell what Kershaw was throwing.
Is Trea Turner explaining how Clayton Kershaw may be tipping his pitches? pic.twitter.com/oOjsKBhpoi
— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) October 5, 2019
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.
Tipped pitches are magnified at this time of year. If that is what happened to Kershaw, an ex-teammate may be able to help him.
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.
He took a moment to address the crowd and received a huge standing ovation. pic.twitter.com/ufWGTrro8O
— KNBR (@KNBR) September 29, 2019
Bumgarner lined out in the at-bat.
Kershaw understood the magnitude of the moment and tipped his cap to Bochy for the move:
A decade of battles. Nothing but respect. pic.twitter.com/SjwLjukfey
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) September 29, 2019
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.
“His foot’s fine,” said Roberts of Kershaw, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. “Cooler is on the IL.”
The former Manager of the Year’s humor about the whole situation is a relief because Kershaw’s kick definitely looked like it might have hurt.
With six full days off before his next scheduled start, the three-time Cy Young winner has plenty of time to recover and to get some tips on his kicking form from this fellow National League team.
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.
Clayton Kershaw upset about being removed from game. pic.twitter.com/7mNqMtGY9y
— handlit33 (@handlit33) September 7, 2019
That seriously looked like it could have hurt.
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.
- Clayton Kershaw
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.
Kershaw wasn’t exactly thrilled about Darvish joining an NL rival, but he does not seem to blame the Japanese star for the ghosts of the 2017 World Series.