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Dodger Fan Reactions Test Patience with Latest Kershaw Performance

The offense wasn’t good either.

MILWAUKEE, WI - OCTOBER 20: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers during the ninth inning in Game Seven of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 20, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Whenever Clayton Kershaw pitches there are very high expectations for the future Hall of Famer. He has been so good for so long for the Dodgers. As such, he is probably the best pitcher of this decade.

However, the playoffs have been another story for Kershaw.

The First Inning

The Dodgers lost game 2 of the 2019 National League Divisional Series against the Nationals and it had a familiar Kershaw playoff refrain. For many of us, it all started with the first batter of the game.

The hit by Trea Turner was on the first pitch. JT was also playing in to defend against the bunt. The pitch was a 91 MPH fastball that was low and inside. In most cases, Clayton Kershaw likes to get a first pitch fastball for strike one. Turner only hit it 85 MPH but it got passed the drawn in JT. After Adam Eaton popped up a bunt, Kershaw walked Anthony Rendon and hit Juan Soto on a 1-2 pitch.

With the bases loaded the Nationals got their first run on a Howie Kendrick a single to left field. 1-0 Nationals before Kershaw got the last two outs in the top of the first.

The Second Inning

The second inning began with Kershaw hitting Victor Robles.

The pitcher, Stephen Strasburg bunted Robles over to second and Trea Turner followed with a ground out to third for the second out. The next batter was Adam Eaton who is 1 for 9 against Kershaw in the regular season. Eaton proceeded to get a two out/two strike single to make it 2-0 Nationals.

Anthony Rendon was the next batter. The situation was Eaton on first and two outs. What happened next? Well, see below.

By this time Kershaw had abandoned his curveball after throwing it only twice in the first inning. Hitters were able to sit on 87-91 MPH velocity for either a fastball or a slider (it’s more of a cutter). The pitches are so similar in velocity that he really needs that low 70s MPH curveball to keep them off balance. There is also the possibility that he was tipping his pitches.

“Playoff” Kershaw

After just two innings the Nationals were already up 3-0 and playoff Kershaw had made another appearance on social media.

To be fair, Kershaw has had quite a few good to great playoff appearances as Jon Weisman points out below.

When compared to Kershaw’s regular season history it does look bad in some cases. Of course, the spotlight is a lot brighter during the postseason. If he just pitches decently in game 5 of the 2017 World Series the Dodgers win. He had been excellent in game 1 and was stellar in relief of game 7. But, what do we all remember? Just like that one bad game he had in the 2017 post-season, we remember his worst appearances.

The Dodgers Lose

Game 2 against the Nationals brought out all sorts of bad thoughts about previous Dodger playoff failures.

I know I went on my own rant. Like most other Dodger fans, the loses seem to bring out a lot more thoughts that the wins do.

Clayton Kershaw ended up pitching much better after the first two innings. He did not give up any more runs and only gave up two hits in his final four innings. I don’t think it is any coincidence that he started throwing his curveball again at the beginning of the third inning. Even if the curve isn’t very good, he still needs to keep throwing it. The curve is a feel pitch and it can take some time for it to come together. When he is just relying on the fastball and slider, the hitters tee-off on him.

The Dodgers did put up a fight and were one or two decent at bats from tying the game in the 9th. However, it wasn’t their night.

Final Thoughts

Clayton Kershaw now has 9 wins against 11 losses in the playoffs with an ERA over 4.30. He’s also been the victim of some horrible bullpens which has cost him quite a few extra earned runs. As many have stated this wasn’t just Clayton Kershaw’s fault.

The Dodgers striking out 17 times is an embarrassment. Clayton Kershaw giving up 3 runs in 6 innings is mediocre. Let’s call it what it is, a team loss. However, in the passage of time too many will blame Kershaw more than he should be blamed. Kershaw has provided the Dodgers many great moments and the one we all crave has him holding up the World Series trophy. Like any pitcher, he will need some help to get there.

Written by Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

33 Comments

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  1. I think we are done. We don’t hit their left handed pitching. Our team was semi-pathetic last night. Very disappointed. Wish we could bench Bellinger and Pollock. Pollock has been the most disappointing Dodger all year. Not impressed and not happy. Kershaw is no longer a guaranteed win, and we stuck against left handers.

  2. Said long ago time to get rid of him.. now I think to late.. no one will want him.. he is a loser!!

  3. Aye aye aye! Come on! It’s one game! One loss against a good team. Time to suck it up and move on! LETS GO DODGERS!!!

  4. Coaching is the Dodger’s achilles heal. Drawn in Turner on leadoff batter r u kidding? There’s little fire. Did anyone notice the bench the the 9th? They’re so used to playing against mediocrity they acted as if they were going to win. Good pitching will kill great hitting and Dave Roberts is being out coached again.

    Another huge problem is the offense is batting as if Mark McGuire was their hitting coach again. They’re not working pitch counts and batting so aggressively their making Nats pitchers look like Cy Young himself. Don’t get me wrong obviously Nats have a good staff, but the Dodgers are blowing it and not batting their style like they did the entire season.

    Roberts needs to bench Polluck and never again bat him leadoff. WTF was that? I can’t remember him doing that the entire season. Roberts needs to stop being cute and have a tighter leash on his pitchers, especially Kershaw and Jensen, or they will be doomed!

  5. Same thing every year they just never ever ever learn it’s incredible. Everything in this article are things we talk about every postseason. Kershaw is a clown for just giving up on his curve constantly for a veteran and supposed HOFr he isn’t very wise. Why isn’t anyone like Honeycutt or Roberts telling him what even the nobody fans on Twitter are thinking? Cmon who’s running this sht show? If they don’t get it done this year I’m done, repeating the same mistakes year in and year out is unacceptable it would be one thing if they actually changed but still failed but never changing just makes me resent this organization more and more the personality of this team just doesn’t represent LA. I refuse to waste anymore of my valuable free time on this sht show when there’s never progress, it’s just wrong on so many levels to the fans

  6. I don’t put the loss on Kershaw at all. Our offense can’t give themselves a chance striking out 17 times, waiting for the home run ball to bail everyone out. Not going to happen against good pitching. Very frustrating. Pollock to the bench please, let’s play CT3 and hope for a better offensive game plan against Scherzer. PUT THE BALL IN PLAY. GIVE YOURSELVES A CHANCE.

  7. There’s something in most of the previous comments to agree with, but what good does the venting of the fans do? No one who failed in this game – pitcher, hitters, manager, etc. – listens to us or to the announcers who say some of the same things.

    I’m afraid, i.e. discouraged, that I will never witness another Dodger championship in what’s left of my lifetime.

  8. Yes, Kershaw gave up the early runs, but let’s face it, our offense stunk. At least five of their K’s came on pitch sequences where not one pitch was in the zone. And, as I recall, not one strikeout, swinging, was in the zone. Strasberg and Sherzer are good, but we made them look invincible.

    • Kershaw’s 1st and 2nd innings were…well…pathetic. He did, however, pull it together by the 3rd. Because our offense did not show up (with few notable exceptions), it was too late by then. Let’s hope that Scherzer will not be as dominant as Strasberg AND that our offense shows up tomorrow because I believe Ryu will.

  9. I don’t put it on Kershaw. Our batters have gone back to last year’s form of relying on the homerun, and swinging big at pitches they shouldn’t. What happened to working the count? Also, Justin Turner muffed the first Nationals hit. He should’ve caught it. That was not Kershaw’s fault.

  10. The current version of Clayton Kershaw is comparable to relable 70’s Dodger 3 or 4 lefty starter Doug Rau, who over a 5yr stint from ’74 to ’78 averaged 14 wins, 10 losses and a 3.72 ERA.

  11. My thoughts here is for one thing Tim Rogers said it best :
    “The Dodgers striking out 17 times is an embarrassment. Clayton Kershaw giving up 3 runs in 6 innings is mediocre. Let’s call it what it is, a team loss.”
    Believe it or not the Dodgers in the regular season actually were 3rd in the league with the lowest # of K’s by the offense. 1,356 Now simply put , striking out 29 total times in these 2 games was exactly the type of offense that cost us in last year’s WS. If ya struggle to put the ball in play like they did last night, a loss is just about a certainty.

  12. Everyone loves the long ball but the Dodgers of old are turning in their graves. What happened to get em on, get em around, and get me in? Every left handed batter that hits against the shift should know how to bunt the ball to the left side. 17 strikeouts is unacceptable. How many left handed batters swung at pitches down and in last night?

  13. Giving up three runs right away is not what a quality pitcher does. However, the offense striking out that many times is awful! Many swings were on pitches out of the zone. The ninth inning a perfect example. Seager swinging at the same low pitches out of the zone. Hope this is not a repeat of previous years!

  14. Hey, according to everyone on the planet, the Dodgers should already be in the World Series, right? They were so “good” they should have got to skip the playoffs, right? They haven’t played a game under any sort of pressure since Game 5 of the beat-down the Red Sox put on them last October. People praised them the past six months for their “versatility” and all those quirky and fun lineups. Well, while they were fattening their batting averages and lowering their ERA’s against the Giants, Rockies, Padres, and Dbacks, the Nationals were fighting for their lives. Every game down the stretch meant something to them. Every game was pressure-packed. They’re used to the spotlight. The Dodgers are not. 17 strikeouts last night? They only get 27 outs in a 9 inning game. They’d better have done some soul-searching on that plane ride to D.C. And what is Honeycutt writing in that silly Courtyard by Marriott notepad every game? And chew gum with you mouth closed Rick. Geez.

  15. The Dodgers will now feel the pressure in a game now, that they didn’t feel all year ,it is pure pressure and only going to get worse .The Nats really feel confident and are at home tough fan base to opponents , change the Dodgers line up use Beatty more and sit Pollock !!! HOW MANY STRIKE OUTS ???? the Dodgers need to regroup and fast ,timely at bats ,patience,they were the best earlier this year at following the ball to the plate ,don’t over swing, go with the pitch, take a walk need to get back to that soon “REAL SOON”.

    • Johnny, I completely concur. I hope that pressure our team is undoubtedly now feeling is enough to make the Dodgers fight for this. In Game 2, the Nationals came ready and we struggled “straight out of the gate.” (And I am not only talking about Kershaw’s 1st and 2nd inning pitching.) Regardless of how well Ryu may pitch, if Dodgers don’t collectively bring it, this may very well be a shorter post-season than we’re hoping for. Our Dodgers need to pull it together and I have to believe, as a fan, that they will. GO DODGERS!

  16. Did anyone here see the Astros/Rays game last night? the Astros did what they usually do and that is put the ball in play, especially with RISP. And can you imagine if Dodgers somehow get to the WS and have to face Verlander and Cole? I was watching that AL division series last night and kept thanking the powers to be that the Rays were playing the Astros and not Dodgers facing them.

  17. My exact sentiment. I did, in fact, watch much of the Astros/Rays game. And yes, the Astros did what the Astros do. Cole is excellent but he is hit-able, specifically later in that game. The Rays had a chance. IF our Dodgers can pull it together…we could conceivably face the Astros again. But at this point, I am simply hoping that we can get through the Nationals.

  18. Pollock, swing and miss in the dirt strike one. Swing and miss in the dirt strike 2. Lay off 3 pitches in the dirt full count. Swing and miss in the dirt sit down. Please play David Freese and try to win Roberts! Please play anyone that is just trying to get on base! This team is officially adopted the Choker status….

  19. Thank you Dave Roberts for playing Freese. Please please keep him in the line up. And Please sit swing in the dirt Pollock down and play Anyone else….Signed, just play your best team and forget about percentages for once…Thanks, 50 year Dodgers fan….

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