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.