October 9, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) reacts after loading the bases in the seventh inning against the New York Mets in game one of the NLDS at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
The Dodgers got sufficiently owned by Jacob deGrom and the New York Mets and lost the first game of the series 3-1.
First thing’s first, oh my goodness Jacob deGrom can pitch baseballs good. 13 strikeouts 1 walk, 7 shutout innings. A gazillion disappointed Dodger fans Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to an excellent starting pitcher throwing a surreal game to totally shut out a lineup that has really struggled recently.
He confounded Dodger hitting all night, throwing straight smoke past Dodger hitters all game long, hitting as high as 99 MPH in the early innings, heck his slider routinely hit 91- 93. It was really quite ridiculous, he was toying with hitters all night, the only thing keeping him from a complete game was a pitch count hovering around 20 pitches per inning through the first 4 frames, it never ended up mattering cause he was so economical in the final 3 frames he pitched in.
So we should probably talk about Clayton Kershaw huh?
I’m not going to be an overt homer here, Clayton honestly needed to pitch better. A 4.05 ERA lowering your career postseason ERA is NOT a good thing. However, this tweet sums it up
This is when Pedro Baez came into clean up Clayton’s mess he made for himself in the 7th inning, that mess was an unsightly bases loaded jam that he worked himself into because of a combination of a questionable umpire, and poor command (see, walking Tejada, Reuben).
So I see that the narrative about him being a choker is running wild which is unfortunate. Not that Kershaw isn’t without blame, but really a reliever coming in and tossing a meatball 3-2 pitch that gets hit the other way isn’t all your fault, even if the bases loaded jam was.
So was Kershaw’s earned run total at the end of the night indicative of his performance? Of course not, he struck out 11 batters in under 7 innings pitched! He also masterfully worked himself out of jams for the duration of the game until the 7th inning which deserves some level of praise.
I think he pitched well, but Vin Scully’s most quoted line ever “good is not good when better is expected” basically applies to the pitcher who has dominated the entire league in the regular season thoroughly for the past 6 seasons. And there were legitimate gripes with Kershaw’s game, the command wasn’t anywhere near good enough, 4 walks, 1 home run, a 3.58 single game FIP tells you that the performance was average at best. Quite frankly, this wasn’t like game 1 or 4 of the NLDS last season where he was mostly excellent except for a single inning, he just didn’t have a great outing and that has to be acknowledged when judging Clayton Kershaw in this game, he just wasn’t good enough to put the team in a position to win in game 1 of the NLDS, especially considering that the offense gave next to nothing all night long.
Now, I hate to go through an entire post of just assigning blame, but make no mistake, the offense was putrid tonight, Carl Crawford did not know what the heck to do, Ethier was bad, and Joc Pederson, looked meh too. The offense consisted of getting runners on and stranding them for the most part. The game was not managed very well either, the corpse Jimmy Rollins got a PA in the 9th inning and Yasmani Grandal, Enrique Hernandez, and Yasiel Puig sat on the bench watching a poor, poor performance.
It was a stupid, stupid game, but one we’ve grown accustomed to, now Zack Greinke goes with the season on the line tomorrow. That’s something that I feel okay about considering he’s always shown up in the playoffs as a Dodger, but the Dodgers are now forced to win a Brett Anderson start or a Clayton Kershaw on short rest start, neither of which are ideal situations.