Clayton Kershaw Places his Name Alongside World Series Greats

We’ve heard it before, countless times, and from Dodger fans just as often as not: “Sure, Clayton Kershaw is good, but he can’t hack it in the postseason.” There was so much talk along these lines, people started believing in a “Seventh Inning Curse”. Good, Dodger Blue loving folks, resisted the idea that Kershaw was as great as he is, because of his past playoff breakdowns.

Yesterday, in Game One of the 2017 World Series, under the hottest temperature ever recorded for a WS game, on the largest stage there exists in his chosen profession, Clayton Kershaw laid those skeletons to rest. Forever. The man we have called “Kid K” for so many years finally made it to the Fall Classic, and boy, oh boy, he did not disappoint.

Kershaw is certainly the greatest pitcher of our generation, but the man is human. He’s been dogged by an aging back over the past couple of seasons, and his 2017 home runs allowed (23) were the highest he’s surrendered in his career. Add all of that to the doubters as he strode toward the mound for the first pitch, and the stage was set for high drama.

Before the game, the message board in the Dodgers’ clubhouse served up a Mike Tyson quote:

“Everyone’s got plans…till they get hit in the mouth! Hit these boys in their f—n mouths and don’t look back!”

Kershaw must have thought about these very words as he unleashed his southpaw powers and struck out the first batter he faced on three straight pitches.  He then proceeded to mow down the next two Astros.  Kershaw let Houton have it right on the kisser and he was on his way to one of the greatest World Series performances from a Dodger in history.

Game One was one of the fastest World Series games ever played, and that was partly due to Kershaw’s efficiency. Clayton dominated the Astros across seven innings. He only had two three-ball counts all night. He struck out 11 and gave up just 3 hits (including a solo home run for the Astros’ lone score) on 83 pitches.

Remember this, the Houston Astros are not a group of slugs. They bring one of baseball’s most potent offenses to the series, and Kershaw punched them unmercifully in the mouth, all game long.  He used his sliders and fastballs like a surgeon, slicing off edges of the strike zone, constantly frustrating batters. Kershaw took advantage of the home plate umpire’s funky strike zone and used Public Enemy Number One, his curve ball, with deadly accuracy.  His performance was thing of beauty, and a sublime pleasure to watch.

When the dust had settled, Kershaw had finished as the first pitcher in history to strike out ten or more, while walking none, and giving up three hits or less. He’s also the first Dodger since Sandy Koufax (1965) to strike out ten or more in the World Series.

Clayton Kershaw delivered a ferocious blow for Los Angeles last night. No other pitcher had struck out more than ten Astros all season. He not only dismantled Houston’s offense, he punched his October demons squarely in the mouth, finishing them off, once and for all.

 

Oscar Martinez

Oscar Martinez

I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

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39 thoughts on “Clayton Kershaw Places his Name Alongside World Series Greats

    1. Happens to the best of them. That’s one of the reason’s the Tiger’s did not win a title when he was there. Remember, he pitched against the Giants in 2012 when they got swept. In game 1 The Panda hit 3 HR’s. 2 of them off of Verlander. His only other WS appearance was against the Cardinals when he was a rookie. He can be had….

  1. He can be had…

    That was my point.

    Tonight’s plate ump is Paul Nauert. There is a rating system of some type that tracks “pitches in the strike zone”. In 2017, Nauert is the worst at calling strikes, he only gets the call right on pitches in the strike zone 84.8 percent of the time.
    My question is, “Why the hell is that ump even allowed to be behind the plate in the WS?” and going a little further “Why is he allowed to keep a job in the MLB?”

    It is past time for the electronic strike zone.

  2. Thank you God, Barnes is catching tonight.

    Utley at 2B, we’ll see how that goes.

    Joc in LF

    Seager back to the two hole.

    I’m sure this won’t be seen since another thread (or 2 ) will be started soon. lol

  3. I’m with you about that the umpires. Thanks for sharing those statistics. The umpire I saw at last nights game was like “one of those things it just doesn’t belong there “.

  4. Joc and Utley are likely to be automatic outs against Verlander. It’s goong to be a difficult game tonight. I’m very worried about this game.

    We need to work the counts against Verlander even with the strikeouts piling up.

  5. Hill not sharp at all.

    We need to just hang in there and get to Verlander the 3rd and 4th time through the batting order.

  6. Verlander is dealing. No hits yet. Just a walk to Taylor. Verlander getting Cody out on those down and in pitches. Cody just cannot handle those.

      1. I think we can get to Verlander late. The velocity and spin on his fastballs will drop a few ticks before A.J. Hinch will go his bullpen.

  7. Yup ..if the Dodgers can keep it close and get to Houston’s relievers , there’s a chance

    Thanks Cory. If the Dodgers steal this game, then I’m confident

  8. Love watching Rich Hill.

    Love it.

    A HR by a player not on the NLCS roster, and one who spent some of the 2nd half of the season in the minors.

    Depth.

  9. Seager comes through! Great at bat! Big inning here! Hold them down!

    Dammit Stripling walks the leadoff hitter. I think we see Morrow soon.

  10. Commented already about the Dodgers run prevention, but their positioning is ridiculous.

    Tonight the Dodgers have turned 5-6-3 double plays from each side of the diamond in this game. Welcome to the new world.

    1. Bluto, the Astros do the same – I was watching their series with the Yankees. And in fact their FO moves are just as good as ours. These two teams, including their FOs are mirror images of each other, down to their managers (AJ Hinch and Roberts were both on the Padres and were under Byrnes). New world indeed.

  11. Smart move to go with Kenley here. Get through the 3,4,5 hitters in the Stros order, then you have some breathing room.

  12. I think we should have squeezed last inning with Bergman holding Bellinger at third and one out. Let’s score some more this inning!!

  13. And that sports fans is why I did not want to see McBrittle on the roster. He has not pitched competitively in a month. But this one if they hang on to lose is on Roberts. He overplayed his hand. Hill could have easily gone another inning and 6 out save would not have been needed. They came back and tied it, and then McBlowup blew up.

  14. Did not like the way Dave was going thru RELIABLE relievers early in this game.
    Just like Verlander tired from his huge effort against the Yanks days ago, thought
    Kenley, because the pitches were so high-adrenaline in game one, would
    lack a little tonight as well. Bad context to try six outs.

    When he came for the eighth, asked the gang who would follow him if
    the game went ten….

    Brandon Mc Carthy = Dodger depth?

  15. Just a great, great, great game.

    Definitely can see the 2nd guessing of pulling Hill, but I thought it was the right move. I could be wrong.

    Astros are good. Dodgers are good.

    Baseball is great.

    1. Pulling Hill was the wrong move. It was wrong at the time, and in retrospect it was even more wrong. Roberts put a huge burden on the pen and burned his best way too early. You have to feel good for Charlie Culberson. He has been stellar in the games he has played. Did not like them weakening the defense by taking Bellinger out. Fields is a HR machine.

  16. McCarthy is no grinder, and that is why he shouldn’t be on this roster!

    He will not earn a penny that he was paid!

    He was so pathetic he couldn’t even pitch one clean inning!

    But I am proud of our guys for coming back!

    1. Maybe they can take him off the roster and put Baez back on. At least he has a swing and miss fastball. 2 things, not getting Bellinger in from third with less than 2 outs was huge, and Cody just getting under that pitch in the 9th was huge too, otherwise we would be talking about a 2-0 lead going to Houston, but, I like the way our pitching is set up for the next 3 games. Darvish-McCullers, I will take Darvish every time. Wood vs Charlie Morton, the same Morton who was so bad in Pittsburgh and Atlanta. And then Kersh in game 5. I say they will take at least 2 of 3 in Texas. Then come home and close it out.

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