While Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly downplayed the possibility of starting Clayton Kershaw on short rest in Game 4, he sat before the media prior to Game 3 and revealed with conviction the ace of his staff would get another shot at the St. Louis Cardinals.

At the time of the announcement, it meant Kershaw would either help the Dodgers stave off elimination and force a winner-takes-all Game 5 at Chavez Ravine, or he’d be in position to get the Dodgers into the National League Championship Series.

Kershaw wound up pitching for the Dodgers’ lives Tuesday and for six innings, there appeared to be a realistic chance Dodger Stadium would host another postseason game this year. Then the seventh inning rolled around and the Cardinals once again came to life.

Matt Holliday led off the inning with an infield single, Jhonny Peralta followed with a flare single just past Hanley Ramirez’s outstretched arm, and Matt Adams turned on a hanging breaking ball for a three-run home run that gave the Cardinals a 3-2 lead, which held true over the final two innings.

Undone by one inning that eliminated his team, Kershaw accepted a large portion of responsibility for the loss, according to ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon:

The season ended and I was a big part of the reason why. It doesn’t feel good, regardless of how you pitched. I can’t really put it into words right now, just bad déjà vu all over again.”

Prior to the barrage of hits that came in the seventh inning, Kershaw had given up just one hit through six innings. His final line of six innings pitched and three runs allowed on four hits is markedly better than his previous postseason starts against the Cardinals, but the outcome remained the same.

The loss was Kershaw’s fourth consecutive in the postseason, all of which have come at the hands of the Cardinals. A 21-game winner in 2014 and likely the NL Cy Young Award winner and perhaps MVP as well, will now endure another off-season wondering what could have been if not for the pesky Cardinals.

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

6 Responses

  1. hrayovac2

    You bring in a reliever with two runners on board and your season at stake, facing elimination…right away. Or Dan Haran..why not him? I wish Mattingly worked at my bank. Me: Teller, can you give me what I want, 1 million dollars no charge, for free? Mattingly: Sure, whatever YOU want..

  2. MikeandRena Kane

    I felt that Mattingly should have told Kershaw- “one base runner and I pull you” for either Haren or another reliever – Mattingly could have had Haren up at the start of the 5th inning to loosen just in case. If Kershaw got through the 7th – then a mix of relievers – possibly even one out at a time, until Jansen in the 9th.

  3. Jim

    Kershaw can’t do everything. He pitched great up until that inning and I think he just had a bit of a let down after his team let him down. I don’t think if he was on third on that pass ball that he would have gone back to the bag standing up…that has got to be a let down when you are out there busting it and your teammates are going half speed. Tough one to take. They just didn’t seem to have their hearts into it completely on every play. St. Louis did. Our top three batters just could not get it done. Hopefully, we can get it done next year…Go Dodgers.

  4. Robert Adams

    After two singles in the 7th, you pull Kershaw and put in JP Howell. Hard throwing Lefty for Matt Adams. Kershaw HUNG a 73 MPH curve ball. That was his only mistake in an otherwise GEM of a performance. But a good manager would know two singles in a row, tying run at the plate, you need to bring in a DIFFERENT ARM at that point. They had seen Kershaw 2 times already.

    And leaving Puig on the bench should have happened after 5 Ks in a row. Either needed more ABs. Turner too. Not Van Slyke. And you don’t bring in Baez or the other reliever who hadn’t pitched in the last month.

    • Dave Pomerantz

      The decision becomes much more difficult when you consider that it could’ve just as easily been 2 outs, none on to face Adams. Dee and Hanley got gloves on both hits. Not exactly clean, line drive singles

  5. Jaime Aguiree

    Kershaw is the best pitcher of the world!!!!!!!! he freaking needs help!!!
    uribe,puig,gordon,need to produce they froze


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