There will probably be no query that 5 years after Clayton Kershaw retires, he will probably be inducted into the Baseball Corridor of Fame. He is among the best pitchers of all time, and may need a case as the best left-handed starter within the sport’s lengthy historical past.
However for all his successes, Kershaw has had one lingering blemish to his resume: “Playoff Kershaw.” The three-time Cy Younger winner and one-time MVP has constructed up a repute that he swiftly falls aside within the postseason.
That repute didn’t enhance in Sport 1 of the NLDS. Tasked with beginning in opposition to the Diamondbacks, Kershaw was crushed by the red-hot hitters, as Arizona rattled off six runs on six hits and a stroll. It took six batters for Kershaw to report the primary out of the inning, with the Diamondbacks reaching on a double, single, single, double and three-run residence run by Gabriel Moreno.
Kershaw retired Lourdes Gurriel Jr., however walked Alek Thomas and gave up an RBI double to Evan Longoria, ending his night.
MORE: Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks NLDS schedule
To be clear, there’s probably extra to Kershaw’s disastrous Saturday outing than a playoff downside. Kershaw was out for all of July and a number of other days in August with a lingering shoulder harm, and since returning, he has not pitched greater than 5 innings or thrown greater than 84 pitches.
Nonetheless, he has not been in a position to shake the concept he falls aside within the playoffs. Why do followers have that perception in regards to the future first-ballot Corridor of Famer? This is a take a look at his playoff stats.
Clayton Kershaw postseason stats
There isn’t any doubt that Kershaw has had a historic profession. In his profession, spanning 425 video games, he has a report of 210-92 with a 2.48 ERA within the common season.
His playoff stats, nonetheless, are far much less fairly. Kershaw, the long-time ace for a Dodgers group that frequents the postseason, has made 39 appearances and 32 begins, together with Saturday. In these outings, he has a 13-11 report with a 4.49 ERA in 194.1 innings, an entire season’s price of appearances.
That does not imply that Kershaw hasn’t been with out his brilliant spots. He pitched to a stellar 2.63 ERA in two begins within the 2015 postseason and had a 2.93 mark in 2020, with the Dodgers heading to their first World Collection win since he arrived within the large leagues. In that World Collection, Kershaw made two begins (11.2 innings) and pitched to a 2.31 ERA with 14 strikeouts, seven hits and simply three walks. He allowed just one residence run.
However then there’s been the tough ones. Within the 2014 postseason, he had a 7.82 ERA in two begins (12.2 innings). He has in two different postseasons had an ERA above 6.00, coming in 2009 (6.08 in 13.1 innings) and 2019 (7.11 ERA in 6.1 innings).
The issue with being an all-time nice pitcher is that greatness turns into the expectation, and underperformance usually stands out greater than the success. In Kershaw’s 425 regular-season video games, he has allowed 4 runs or extra in simply 61 (14.4 % of his video games). In his 39 postseason appearances, he is allowed no less than 4 runs in 12 (30.7 %). He is additionally had solely 12 appearances within the common season the place he is allowed six runs or extra (2.8 %), whereas he is performed that now 4 instances within the postseason (10.3 %)
By comparability, he has thrown 221 outings within the common season wherein he has allowed one or no runs, a ridiculous 49.7 % of his outings, in comparison with simply 16 within the playoffs, a still-impressive 41 %.
And Kershaw has not simply struggled at one spherical or one other. It has been a bit constant. This is a take a look at his playoff stats by spherical:
* – File earlier than conclusion of Dodgers-Diamondbacks
For all Kershaw’s struggles, he is by no means had an outing as unhealthy as Saturday’s. His shortest postseason begin previous to Saturday was a three-inning outing in opposition to the Brewers within the 2018 NLCS, the place he gave up 5 runs (4 earned) off six hits. He has beforehand lasted solely 0.1 innings when pitching in reduction, occurring as soon as in 2008 in opposition to the Phillies in Sport 4 of the NLCS (one run off one hit and a stroll) and in opposition to the Nationals within the 2019 NLDS (two runs off two hits).
There’s a chance that would be the final time Kershaw takes the mound at Dodger Stadium. It could possibly be his ultimate look as an MLB pitcher. And whether it is, it’s undoubtedly disappointing to many it was one other tough postseason outing to provide additional perception to those that say he cannot pitch properly within the playoffs.