Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is the most dominant pitcher of the last decade and a slam dunk, first-ballot Hall of Fame player.
However, he has had to deal with some really rotten luck in the postseason, it took him the better part of his career before he finally put it all together and slipped a ring on his finger.
Kershaw, who posted a 2.16 ERA in 10 regular season starts, also shut up the naysayers who mocked his average postseason statistics by serving as a study, veteran presence in the LA rotation on the road to a title.
While this won’t be enough to quiet all of the boo birds, fellow southpaw Alex Wood, who left the Dodgers for the San Francisco Giants this offseason, thinks that Kershaw is beyond reproach.
Wood insisted that nobody can “say s—” about Kershaw in an interview with The Athletic (subscription required), claiming that what he’s done in his career puts him in a tier all his own among modern pitchers
Alex Wood propped up Dodgers legend Clayton Kershaw
"“Nobody can say s— about Clayton, about the Dodgers, about any of those guys,” said Wood, who signed with San Francisco this winter. “He’s done it now. But he didn’t need that for his Hall of Fame career. He didn’t need that.”"
Kershaw might not have had the best go of it in the playoffs, as evidenced by his 4.19 ERA, but he managed to get his shine back thanks to his dominant 2020 postseason. Alongside Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, and the rest of the staff, Kershaw and the Dodgers just had too much pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays to overcome.
While some of the greatest pitchers in baseball history never got the chance to play in the World Series, Kershaw potentially losing three years out of four, all the while putting up middling stats, would certainly have come back to haunt him when his legacy gets compared against the all-time greats.
A Cy Young winner and MVP, Kershaw needed to add a championship ring to his jewelry case, and last year finally gave him one after a decade of searching.
Wood is right. Even as a Giant, he knows that jealous fans will look for any flimsy excuse to get shots in at Kershaw. After what he did last year, there is no anti-Kershaw argument Giants fans can conjure that holds any sort of weight.