Prior to his Wild Card round victory, Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw was 9-11 in the postseason, with a 4.43 ERA.
After striking out 13 while twirling eight scoreless innings against Milwaukee, the left-hander is now 10-11 with a 4.22 ERA.
Promising, for now. I’ve been down this road before with this guy, as a lifelong Dodgers fan.
But let’s not mince words here, the Dodgers’ hopes for their first World Series title in 32 years hinges on Kershaw. Period.
Let’s get to work. pic.twitter.com/L7k40gyQS3
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 6, 2020
Remember, he was 0-2 last year against Washington. After going 3-1 in the National League playoffs in 2018, he was 0-2 in the World Series against Boston. After a 4-0 start in the 2017 postseason, he was 0-2 in the World Series against sign-stealing Houston.
From 2008-16, he was 8-10 with a 4.55 ERA.
We’ve seen him far too many times bent over, hands on knees, usually after seeing balls fly out of the park. Spanning 166.1 innings pitched, Kershaw is allowing a HR every 6.9 innings.
Perspective: over his career he’s allowing a HR every 12.8 innings.
As you can see, and what many of you probably already knew, he hasn’t been the type of ace the Dodgers can count on. Overall, he’s below average in the playoffs. In the World Series he is brutal.
Why will this year be different?
Perhaps it’s a lineup that finished the regular season with a league-best 349 runs, and that this year is bolstered by four-time All-Star and 2018 World Series champion and American League MVP Mookie Betts. He’s only two years removed from being the A.L. batting champion and joining the 30-30 club.
Maybe it’s the depth, since they can rotate players throughout positions and place them strategically in the lineup. Fact is, manager Dave Roberts has enough options to work around each starter and strengthen situations game by game.
Ultimately, Roberts can do as much tweaking as he wants. If the Dodgers are going to win the World Series, they’re going to need Kershaw to right his playoff ship.
I hit two of three last Wednesday and look to keep momentum going into the Divisional round.
Marlins vs. Braves: I’ll side with the Braves and young Ian Anderson in Game 2 of this series at Houston’s Minute Maid Park, as I’ve been impressed by the 22-year-old right-hander. He made his pro debut on Aug. 26 by silencing the Yankees to the tune of one run over six innings. Three of his next four starts were away from Atlanta, going 2-1 in those games.
His lone loss at home? Against these Marlins, who tagged him for three runs (all unearned) on seven hits over 5.2 innings. This kid looked good last week against the Reds, limiting them to just two hits over six scoreless innings while striking out nine. Miami hands the ball to Pablo Lopez, who makes his first playoff start, and faces a team that has already pounded him for seven runs in 1.2 innings in the regular season. BRAVES
Rays vs. Yankees: I picked the Pinstripes to win the American League pennant, and I am riding them out the entire time. I love the pitching mismatch in Game 3, as Masahiro Tanaka should outclass Charlie Morton in this one at Petco Park in San Diego.
Tanaka will undoubtedly be out to avenge a brutal start against the Indians in Game 2 of the Wild Card round, where he was tattered for six earned runs. That’s uncharacteristic for Tanaka, who came into the postseason with a lifetime 5-3 mark and 1.76 ERA in eight playoff starts.
The Yankees offense will be too much for Morton, who allowed four runs (three earned) over five innings in his last regular-season start against the Phillies and will be on the hill after a 12-day layoff between starts.
I will say this, he is 4-2 in 10 lifetime starts against the Yankees, but he also has a 3.83 ERA and is very hittable. I’m rolling with the ‘Stripes. YANKEES
Padres vs. Dodgers: Welp! It’s Game 2 in Arlington at Globe Life Field and Kershaw is up. If you read my column, you know. If you skipped over it and came straight for the picks, shift your eyes to the top and get to reading. DODGERS
Last week: 2-1