The 2020 MLB season was fun for a lot of reasons if you are a Dodgers fan. Not only did you get to watch your team win their first World Series since 1988, but it was also a sort of redemption year. Fans got to watch Victor Gonzalez break out in the postseason, Corey Seager overcome his history of injuries, and AJ Pollock prove why he belongs in Los Angeles.
One of the best storylines for the Dodgers in 2020 though, was Clayton Kershaw defeating his playoff demons. After so many years of postseason failure and narratives about Kershaw in October, he came out and shut down the Brewers to start the playoffs in 2020. Kershaw would go on to win 4 total postseason games, including 2 World Series games.
That redemption tour for Kershaw might be part of the reason that ESPN’s Buster Olney ranked him in the top 10 pitchers heading into 2021. Kershaw came in at number 8, 2 spots ahead of rotation mate Walker Buehler. Kershaw and Buehler were the only 2 Dodgers that made Olney’s list.
Considering the list includes All-Star names like Jacob deGrom, Gerrit Cole, and Shane Bieber, you can’t help but feel good about 2021. Buehler had a slow start for the Dodgers in 2020 thanks to the uncertainty of the MLB season and a blister issue. But that didn’t stop Buehler from absolutely dominating in October, throwing a combined 25 innings and pitching to a 1.80 ERA with 4 postseason wins.
If Kershaw can continue on the correction course that he set during the 2020 season, that would be a phenomenal year. He combined for a 2.16 ERA in 10 starts this year, striking out 9.6 batters per 9 innings and getting his walk rate back down. Between him and Buehler, the Dodgers could once again end up with one of the best 1-2 punches in MLB.
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