The Los Angeles Dodgers entered Game 2 of the 2019 NLDS with a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately, Playoff Kershaw struck again early on.
Clayton Kershaw really isn’t making things easier on himself.
Though the 31-year-old is no longer in his prime, it’s almost like his career needs to be separated into Clayton Kershaw and Playoff Kershaw. The former is one of the greatest pitchers in the game; the latter wouldn’t even come close to sniffing the Hall of Fame.
In Game 2 of the NLDS, with the LA Dodgers up 1-0 in the series, Kershaw started the game, hoping to get his team off to a 2-0 lead. Instead, it’s been nothing but a rocky start for the starting pitcher, who quickly gave up three runs through two innings.
The Washington Nationals struck early when shortstop Trea Turner earned a leadoff double. Adam Eaton’s bunt gave Kershaw one out, but he then walked Anthony Rendon and hit Juan Soto, loading the bases. An RBI single gave the Nats an early 1-0 lead, though Kershaw was able to get out of the inning … after 24 pitches with four base runners, that is.
Things didn’t get better in the top of the second inning, as Playoff Kershaw started the inning by hitting Victor Robles. Robles would eventually score on an Adam Eaton single, and Eaton would then add another point to the scoreboard after Rendon’s double to center.
Kershaw was able to get out of the top of the third and fourth innings without giving up a single hit, going 1-2-3 in both, but the damage had already been done as the Nationals led 3-0.
It’s confounding, amusing and altogether predictable how much the postseason seems to change Clayton Kershaw. For a three-time Cy Young winner, former NL MVP and owner of the second-lowest career hits allowed per nine innings in MLB history (6.61), it’s simply staggering to see his regular season career ERA of 2.44 nearly double come playoff time, as his postseason ERA sits at 4.32.
At the bottom of the fourth inning, the Nats still hold a 3-0 lead. Here’s hoping Playoff Kershaw can take at least one night off for the Dodgers’ sake, but given his history and unfortunate start to Game 2 Friday night, it wouldn’t be wise to bet on it.