Prior to the start of the National League Division Series, Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Clayton Kershaw finds himself in familiar territory.
Over the course of the last two seasons, Kershaw and the Dodgers have have been in contention for a World Series title but have come up short both years. In 2013 Los Angeles made it to the National League Championship Series before being eliminated by the St. Louis Cardinals. The following year, 2014, the team was eliminated in the NLDS by the Cardinals once again; Kershaw was roughed up in his two starts.
He allowed eight runs in 6.2 innings in Game 1 and three runs in Game 4 on short rest, both games resulted in losses. With the 2015 NLDS now in sight Kershaw was asked what he learned the last two years.
“I don’t know,” he said. “We’ll find out tomorrow, Yeah, I don’t know. Losing is never fun, so try to win, I guess, is the best bet. But other than that I don’t really know. I don’t know if experience matters a whole lot. We have a lot of guys with a lot of experience.”
Though the Dodgers have a slew of veterans on their club they also have a few young guys in the postseason for the first time such as Kiké Hernandez and Joc Pederson. When asked about goals, preparation and the determination he had to get back to October baseball, Kershaw spoke with a World Series or bust attitude.
“That’s a deep question,” said Kershaw. “I don’t know. I mean, the goal is always to make it to the playoffs regardless of where you ended up last year, and the goal is to always win the whole thing every year. Every team says that in Spring Training.”
The difference between the Dodgers and other teams is that the Dodgers have back-to-back exits in the playoffs at the hands of the Cardinals with the highest payroll in baseball.
Kershaw has had a dismal career against the Cardinals putting together a record of 3-7 with a 4.83 ERA. Though Kershaw’s dominance as a pitcher is evident, his critics usually point to and judge him based on his dismal playoff numbers. The southpaw didn’t have much to say on whether he judges himself based on his postseason woes.
“I don’t really judge myself, I guess,” said Kershaw. “I don’t really judge other players. That’s for you guy to do. I don’t really care, honestly. But, my goal is to win just for the teammates and the guys in our room. That’s the most important thing to me.
“So you look at guys’ success, guys’ careers. I think you have to take everything into account, but, yeah at the end of the day do you want the World Series. That’s what we play for.”
Kershaw added that he has enough motivation that can help him have success.
“I think I’ll have enough,” he said. “I don’t need to be fueled too much. I definitely remember, but it’s a new team, new season, and hopefully for me a new outcome.”
The reigning NL MVP and CY Award winner looks to change his string of recent struggles in the playoffs against the New York Mets on Friday night in Game 1.