The worst part of the Astros cheating scandal is that it feels like picking at old wounds. For Dodgers fans, those old wounds are the 2017 World Series. In a sit down with Tom Verducci, Clayton Kershaw admitted some things about his shortcomings in midst of the Astros’ cheating.
Tom Verducci's new interview with Clayton Kershaw is a must-read. Really breaks down 2017 World Series Game 5, and it's just heartbreaking to think what might have been. https://t.co/hWjoP6jYJx pic.twitter.com/HsZ07lGyI9
— Jon Weisman (@jonweisman) February 20, 2020
Be warned: there will be plenty of heartache for Dodgers fans in this interview. The thoughts of what might have been are innevitable, and it will likely stir up even more hatred of the Astros.
With that being said, many were quick to judge Kershaw’s 2017 World Series efforts, myself included. And initially, why not? He gave up 6 runs in a pivotal game 5 and blew a 4-run lead and then a 3-run lead. Fast forward a few years and of course, we now know that the Astros were cheating and using illegal systems to steal signs.
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But as it turns out, Kershaw was so sure that the sanctity of the game was intact, that he did not expect Houston to be cheating. And this proved to be a fatal mistake for the Dodgers in the 2017 World Series.
If you don’t change your signs up every few pitches with a guy on second base, it’s on you. I just don’t want to have multiple signs with a guy on first base, you know? That slows the game down. Slows the rhythm down. And I didn’t do that in Houston. I used one sign. And I should have known. They were using multiple signs all the time.
Kershaw is a notorious enforcer of the pace of play in baseball. Once he gets settled into his groove, he likes to keep the game moving along. So why not use one sign with no one on second base to steal it from you? It made sense at the time, and it still makes sense now.
Players don’t expect teams to cheat and take sign-stealing to the level the Astros did, so Kershaw using one sign was more than acceptable. He does, however, look back and realize there are things he could have changed.
Well, I’m not tipping my pitches, I give one sign, and they shouldn’t be able to know what’s coming because they’re not getting it from the catcher and they’re not getting it from me.’ They shouldn’t know. And that’s probably just me being naive as well about how they can use technology.
It’s tough to look back and think that if Kershaw had gone to multiple-sign pitch calling, maybe Gurriel doesn’t hit that home run. Maybe he doesn’t walk Springer and Bregman to set the stage for Altiuve’s bomb off of Maeda. Maybe the Dodgers win the World Series with ease. Maybe.
All that is left to do now is look ahead, and hope for a better 2020 season.