Clayton Kershaw closed out this year on Saturday in Colorado, which put an end to yet another great regular season for the Dodgers’ southpaw.
The ace had a remarkable year while battling through sky-high expectations, highs and lows, and – of course – injury. Even though all of this, Kershaw could still potentially be worthy of a Cy Young, despite the bumps along the way. Those bumps seemed to teeter Kershaw one last time in 2017, but it truly is nothing to blow out of proportion.
Below-average starts have happened before, and there is no reason to think that the best pitcher in the game cannot wash out one start – after it was also his last of the season. And if there is something Clayton Kershaw is one of the best at, it is bouncing back with an amazing outing the next time he takes the mound. Some insight was provided by Kershaw after his final start on Saturday:
The light work that Kershaw was dealt on Saturday did see him run into the slight hiccups, but he ultimately was pitching truly to his repetitive ‘attack-mode’ form, and that is likely all that Dave Roberts could ask for.
Clayton Kershaw’s Final Line (Saturday, September 30th vs. Colorado Rockies) :
3 ER (1 Solo HR by Carlos Gonzalez)
57 Pitches (41 Strikes, 16 Balls)
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For Kershaw, his next start is slated to be Game One of the National League Divisional Series. Game One will be taking place on Friday, October 6th in Los Angeles, and that is more than enough time to refocus and go into this postseason start with one goal, and that is to come away with a win. To follow, every next day becomes a ‘must win,’ until Los Angeles is the team that eventually hoists the Commissioner’s Trophy at the end of the Fall Classic.
As long as Kershaw can stay out of the middle of the zone against either the Rockies or Diamondbacks, he should see flattering numbers in the postseason this time around. His level of intelligence and experience has only grown – regarding pitching in the playoffs – and he will have had more starts before postseason play after being reinstated from the Disabled List.
After maintaining the status of lowering his ERA season after season, the least of worries for the Dodger left-handed will weigh on allowing runs. However, the areas of avoidance for Kershaw will remain as, trying his best to get out of stressful situations and shutting down the opposing lineup in the clutch.
With a hot offense, as of late, Kershaw should have the support of a Dodger lineup that looks to continue their consistency in putting up crooked numbers. The challenges of the postseason will catch up, by having the level of competition increased – with every run, hit, and pitch being important, and further magnified if a mistake takes place. To maintain the success that is expected by Clayton Kershaw and his Dodger teammates, they will be forced to grind until the final out is recorded.
While little concern was expressed about the last outing of the regular season, Clayton Kershaw will see himself facing a difficult task in Game One, regardless of the opponent. There is a different feel to this Dodger ball club of 2017, so for them to show their dominance, they will need to set the tone in Game One of the series and hit the ground running. That might sound like it entails scoring a lot of runs, but runs are typically at a premium throughout the postseason anyway. Setting the tone for the NLDS, and (hopefully) series’ to come – will start with the face of LA, their ace, Clayton Kershaw. So, after putting his final preparations behind him, the best in the business will look to come out firing, and set this team on the right foot to begin the postseason.