Clayton Kershaw led the Majors with 21 games and held the ERA title for a fourth consecutive year — a first in MLB history — but it was all for naught as he was unable to solve the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Division Series.

The Los Angeles Dodgers held a 2-0 lead in the seventh inning, only to see Kershaw give up a three-run home run that proved to be the difference in the game. While Kershaw was undone by the seventh inning in a second straight start, Matt Kemp came to the left-hander’s defense, via Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:

He (Kershaw) pitched a great game. He pitched his butt off on three days’ rest. He made one mistake. In my eyes, he’s still the best pitcher in baseball. I still wouldn’t give the ball to anyone else.”

There was little argument as to Kershaw’s standing in the regular season as the best pitcher in the game, but his postseason troubles took some shine off a remarkable year. Kershaw likely pitched his way to a third Cy Young Award for the third time in four years, and finished the season as the favorite to win NL MVP.

Kershaw finished the 2014 postseason with an 0-2 record and has now lost four consecutive playoff starts to the Cardinals. The six runs the Cardinals scored on Kershaw in the seventh inning of Game 1 meant he became the first pitcher in MLB history to allow seven earned runs in consecutive postseason starts.

The Dodger ace is now 1-5 with a 5.12 ERA, which is more than double his 2.48 career ERA. At just 26 years old and playing for an ownership group that’s committed to competing for a World Series, Kershaw figures to have ample time to rewrite his postseason narrative so long as he remains healthy.

About The Author

Matt is a journalist from Whittier, California. A Cal State Long Beach graduate, Matthew occasionally contributes to Lakers Nation, and previously served as the lead editor and digital strategist at Dodgers Nation, and the co-editor and lead writer at Reign of Troy, where he covered USC Football. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mmoreno1015

11 Responses

  1. Marcos Amezcua

    For the regular season yes BUT you don’t win World Series with regular season stats and/or wins. When it come to the postseason he is at the bottom going 1-5 in 11 starts and a 5.12 ERA, OUCH.

    Reply
    • Joe V

      A good manager would never let a pitcher (any pitcher) stay in the game when he did. No team wins the World Series without help for their starting pitching, we didn’t have that for the most part. Yet with what happened in game 1, Mattingly needs to make a change right then when he saw the need! Then you saw what happened after he did make the change, no more runs?

      What it boils down to in this last game was one (1) bad pitch. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it, and to try and make it out to be something more than that is ridiculous.

      If Kershaw was made available for a trade, (which would never happen in a million years right now) EVERY SINGLE TEAM IN THE MAJORS WOULD JUMP AT THE CHANCE TO SIGN HIM!! Every one!

      ps. He’s now led the league in era for 4 consecutive years, that’s the first time in HISTORY, so get off this knocking down Kershaw nonsense.

      Go Dodger Blue!!

      Reply
      • Marcos Amezcua

        Joe. Come on you can’t deny that Kershaw post season numbers SUCK. I could care less that he lead the league 4 years in ERA how about showing up the last two years. He is 0-4 that last two years versus the Cardinals with a 7.02 ERA. When it comes to the regular season Kershaw is the man but if you asked him he would gladly turn back all those Cy Youngs to have a 4-0 postseason record. Kershaw is the ONLY pitcher in MLB History to give up 7 or more runs in back to back postseason wins. Whatever the reason Kershaw clearly isn’t the same pitcher in the postseason that he is in the regular season. He’s got a long offseason to figure out what went wrong. As a Die Hard Dodger fan I hope he does so we can actually win a World Series.

      • Joe V

        Marcos, I’m not denying his post season numbers suck. They are what they are and I’m not one to try and twist facts. My point is/was, he is a great pitcher and if he would have had some real support in relief, he doesn’t stay in the game 1, or game 4. At least not with a competent manager pulling the strings. I was seriously sitting at home watching the 4th game by myself and already getting nervous before he went in for the 7th, even after he had done an incredible job up to that point. Remember, he had only faced 2 batters over the minimum and gave up 1 hit! He’s going into the 7th inning leading by 2 and pitching a 1 hitter? Still, I’m a realist and knew that he was going on short rest and had just come off a good ½ inning where he had to wait while we sent 6 men to the plate (actually 7) and then Ethier gets picked off at third on a bonehead play and all the time for the replay review. So I was happy to see that he got right back on top of his game in the bottom ½ of the 6th and struck out all three!

        Still, in the back of my mind I was worried not knowing how much the short rest was affecting him, even though he appeared to be in command.

        Holliday starts off with a single up the middle and I’m yelling at my TV, (cause no one was around) saying “they better have some warmed up right now!” Then Peralta hits a seeing eye single inches out of the gloves reach that would have been a double play, but it wasn’t.

        OK, RIGHT THEN AND THERE ANY MANAGER HAS TO PULL KERSHAW knowing what happened in game 1! That was the moment and Mattingly blew it! You can say what you want, (even being a die hard Dodger fan) but THAT was the moment when Kershaw needed to come out, no matter if he wanted or felt like he could stay. It’s moments like that, that change a game/series and it can’t/shouldn’t just fall on Kershaws shoulders. No way no how, that’s not fair to even think that. If Mattingly pulls him right then and Relief shuts them down like they did after Baez came in, we probably wouldn’t be having this discussion and would be at Chavez Ravine with Greinke on the mound.

        That’s why I take issue with what I think is skewed numbers for Kershaw in the playoffs this year. I won’t even go into the fact of game 1 and how long Mattingly left him in to get beat up on…… some of those runs are on Mattingly as far as I’m concerned and his mis-management of that game also. Then we lose by 1?

        Keep the faith man, and hope for a better support bullpen in 2015.

        ps. I don’t know if you’re on facebook or not, but I just made a page a little while ago for discussing the Dodgers upcoming season. I’ll be sharing it soon for those that wish to participate or just air their anger a bit.
        https://www.facebook.com/Dodgers2015

      • pcg

        Dead on, Joe. Here’s the thing that seals Mattingly’s fate for me:

        He didn’t even have anyone WARMING UP at the start of the 7th in Game 4. He didn’t even send out Honeycutt to talk to Kershaw after the two hits.

        This was after his managerial disaster in Game 1 (leaving Kershaw in too long, sending in Baez to get devoured by a guy in Holliday who crushes first-pitch fastballs). And after his braindead move to bench Puig for Game 4, despite the fact that Puig was still hitting better than A-Gon, Uribe, and Gordon for the series.

        Mattingly is a serial tinkerer and manages the Dodgers like a fantasy baseball team, not like a game thinker. Sure, he didn’t have much at his disposal in the bullpen (side note: Colletti also has to answer for himself) but you have to go with what you’ve got, and you have to play the freaking players who got you there.

  2. Joe V

    There’s little doubt that Kershaw is the best pitcher in the bigs. Let’s not forget that he not only led the majors for the fourth straight time in era, he led the majors in wins, while missing a month of the season!

    Hopefully the Dodgers organization will set the ship straight before next season is upon us, so that we can take advantage of all the talented players we already have.

    It’s good to see that our farm system is getting back to what it once was and hopefully it will continue after some of the management defections to the Diamondbacks. We have a lot of talent waiting in the wings, and we need to use it effectively. Therein lies the problem, and I think we can do better than settling for a manager that seems to be crossing his fingers while making decisions.

    I don’t think the Guggenheim group will stand pat with Mattingly at the helm, and I’m looking for a change in that position sooner than later. It will let the players know that they mean business and just making the playoffs is not good enough!

    It’s a great organization with a great history, I think we all are ready for a return to excellence. Go Dodger Blue!!

    Reply
  3. Alan Gomez

    No ifs or buts about it Kershaw is a great regular season pitcher but the Cardinals OWN HIM in the postseason.
    And if he has to play them again in the postseason it will be a monkey he has to get off his back if he wants to be considered a great.
    The Dodgers gave him ample support Friday and he flat out choked.

    Reply
  4. Alan Gomez

    I’ve made a decision if Mattingly is still the Dodgers coach next season and the TWC fiasco has been fixed I will not be watching anymore Dodgers baseball till those things are fixed, no reason to waste my time and energy on these Bums only to be letdown and disappointed with there greed on the cable rights.

    Reply

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