Things got dicey there in the end. This has been on full display Friday night in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The notion that arguably the best pitcher in the league struggles so mightily has been a big issue of contention. The left-hander had a 3.77 ERA during the season. He is 9-7 with a 2.63 ERA in his postseason career. Still, each team brings with it the baggage of the regular season, the sixth-month slog during which narratives are constructed. But even Kershaw got a base hit!
The Yucaipa native has made three starts in his career at Dodger Stadium, going 2-1 with a 4.20 ERA. It also included an RBI double to emotional powder keg Yasiel Puig. But, the mistakes came when he caught too much plate on the first pitch. He spent three seasons with the Seattle Mariners prior. He needed 34 pitches to get through 2-1/3 innings against the Rockies, allowing one run and striking out three. Three of the first four batters swung at the first pitch Kershaw threw.
Justin Turner's 3-run home run in the first inning paced the Dodgers' offense that night, as they hid Kershaw's lackluster performance behind a 9-run outburst. In the Diamondbacks loss, the pitching staff allowed nine runs and 12 hits, which means Arizona has given up a combined 17 runs and 25 hits in its first two preseason games overall. That Arizona managed to make it interesting is surprising.
Clayton Kershaw still hasn't figured out how to dominate in October. In a year when teams collectively scored more runs than in any year since 2008, the Dodgers gave up the fewest runs as a franchise since 2003. The Arizona comeback, however, came up short.
Dodgers relievers Tony Watson and Brandon Morrow bridged the gap from Kershaw to the ninth, where Kenley Jansen gave up an unearned run but closed it out. Walker holds a 1.33 WHIP with 146 strikeouts in 157 1/3 innings.
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The Dodgers may have been somewhat middle-of-the-road in a lot of offensive stats this season as they were 12th in runs scored, 11th in home runs, sixth in on-base percentage, and eighth in slugging, but what makes them so tough is that they are risky from their leadoff spot with Chris Taylor and all the way down to their eight-hole hitter with Logan Forsythe.
Before the future can be written let's look back at the past.
Puig went 2 for 5 in the Dodgers' win, with a double, a triple and two RBI.
The Dodgers face Arizona starter Robbie Ray in Game 2 tonight.
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