Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers were fighting to keep their season alive Tuesday night at Citi Field. Like last year, the National League West winners were facing elimination on the road and handed the ball to their ace on short rest.
However, this time around, Kershaw delivered one of the best postseason starts of his career. With the win the Dodgers stayed alive in the postseason and face the New York Mets one last time Thursday night back in Los Angeles.
The winner moves on to face the Chicago Cubs in the NL Championship Series. According to Anthony DiComo and Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was glad to see Kershaw thrive in the difficult situation:
You know, I’m actually really happy for him,” said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. “I mean, this kid is tremendous. Everything that you’re supposed to be, he is, and I think to see him be able to do that tonight on short rest is a really good feeling for, I know myself, but I think a lot of those guys in that clubhouse feel the same way. This guy’s an animal, the way he works, represents us, the game of baseball, himself. I mean, he’s really a credit to the game, and so you’re really happy for him to be able to do that tonight.”
Kershaw brushed aside any talk of him not being able to perform in October by pitching seven masterful innings, giving up just three hits while striking out eight. His only mistake of the night came in the fourth inning when he allowed a one-out solo home run to Daniel Murphy.
However, Kershaw did not allow a runner to pass first base the remainder of the game, en route to earning his first win of the 2015 playoffs. The three-time NL Cy Young must now watch his teammate and fellow ace Zack Greinke pitch Game 5 in a winner-take-all scenario. But for Kershaw, he has certainly quieted his doubters, at least for the moment.