Kershaw needs to be an Ace in October
By this time we have all heard about the playoff struggles of Clayton Kershaw. There is arguably no greater regular season pitcher in the MLB history than Kershaw, but for whatever reason, he has not pitched like an ace for the majority of his postseason career. While he has had some excellent starts, he has not put together a streak of good ones. Here’s a look at the past three postseason runs for Kershaw:
2016 – 4.44 ERA, .253 AVG against, two home runs allowed in four starts
2015 – 2.63 ERA. two home runs allowed in only two starts
2014 – 7.82 ERA, three home runs allowed in only two starts
Aside from 2015, Kershaw has had a rough go at it during the past three playoff runs. Although he heroically saved a game last season, he failed to post the stats we are accustomed to seeing from this generation’s greatest starting pitcher.
He has been plagued by the home run ball, and for whatever reason, he seems to run into issues in the seventh inning. Whether this is due to fatigue, or simply getting beat, the Dodgers hope to avoid fatigue issues by using four starters in the NLDS and not letting Kershaw pitch on short rest.
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Another issue that seems to stand out in the playoffs for Kershaw is his struggles against left-handed hitters.
In 2016, left-handed hitters hit .278 off Kershaw compared to a .247 average against right-handed hitters in the postseason. In 2015, the difference was even bigger has lefties hit .263 off Kershaw with two home runs compared to no home runs and a .071 average by righty batters.
While Kershaw dominates lefties in the regular season, they seem to be getting the better of him in the playoffs. Kershaw will need to reverse this trend along with his overall struggles if the Dodgers want to have any chance of winning it all.