The Dodgers defeated the Diamondbacks 9-5 on Friday in game one of the NLDS! The offense looked great and so did the pitching, outside of four solo home runs given up by Clayton Kershaw, two of which were back-to-back in the top of the 7th.
Clayton Kershaw went 6.1 and gave up just five hits, but four of those hits went out of the park. Kershaw is an ace and he’s going to pound the strike-zone, especially with a 7-2 lead heading into the seventh inning with nobody on base. However, he attributed some of his problems to just being tired, saying “I didn’t have much left.”
Clayton Kershaw becomes the eighth pitcher in MLB history and the first in Dodgers history to give up four home runs in a postseason game.
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) October 7, 2017
Here is what he had to say about his start and how taxing starting a playoff game can be:
I felt fine it just wasn’t coming out as good as I would have liked it to that last inning. They hit some good pitches… No, not really. I just didn’t have much left. Hopefully when you give up hits maybe one or two stay in the ballpark but tonight it didn’t seem like that was going to happen. Obviously a frustrating way to end it but thankful we had a big lead.
I mean right now, my preparation is for a potential game 5 or hopefully game 1 of the next series. That’s my mindset right now and until something changes that’s what I’m going with.
Definitely the intensity of playoff games theres more riding on each pitch. Mentally for sure you try and focus that much harder every single pitch and just let the moment try to, try to take over that moment every single time. That can be taxing for sure. Thankfully we had some long innings there scoring a lot of runs… No excuses, I gave up too many home runs tonight obviously.
Clayton Kershaw has a 25.50 ERA in the 7th inning or later of his postseason starts
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 7, 2017
Dave Roberts also caught up with the media after the win and discussed his ace’s outing, specifically why he sent him out for that 7th inning and the condition of Kershaw’s back:
Yeah… At 90 pitches going into the 7th inning through six and for him that part of the order I felt good with him going back out there. That was sort of my thought and obviously there was some hard contact from that part of the order and it was nice to be able to go to the pen there.
I think that he’s strong. I think he’s healthy. Ever since he’s come backs he’s continuing to get better. Obviously we know the history but managing him in his start, I’m not thinking about the back.
Clayton Kershaw threw 100 pitches on Friday and both him and Dave Roberts noted that his next appearance will be in game 5, if there is one. Dodgers fans will probably forever be skeptical of statements like that after we all saw Kershaw come in for game 5 of the 2016 NLDS, but they seem to be sticking to that plan.
Hopefully some film and rest can help fix whatever wasn’t working for Kershaw on Friday so that he can come back strong in his next outing, whether that’s against the Diamondbacks or for game one of the NLCS!NLDS Game 1: Dodgers’ Justin Turner And Yasiel Puig Lead The Offense