The Los Angeles Dodgers dropped Game 2 of the NLDS to the San Diego Padres with Clayton Kershaw on the mound, and the narratives quickly started to flow in after the game. Kershaw has earned a reputation for choking in the playoffs, so of course that became the spotlight.
To be fair, Kershaw certainly has had bad moments in the postseason in the past on the biggest stage. However, he has also had some really good performances that get swept under the rug, simply because “that is what he is supposed to do”.
Wednesday night’s outing was somewhere in between. Kershaw obviously did not have his best stuff, but he was not downright awful, either. He grinded after a slow start to give the Dodgers five innings and keep them in the game. There are a lot of reasons why the Dodgers lost, such as the lack of hitting with RISP, or Dave Roberts’ questionable decision. Kershaw is not one of them.
But of course, because the narrative already exists and baseball media loves to marry these narratives even when they don’t apply, Kershaw got the bad end of the stick in Wednesday’s postgame coverage.
This needs to stop. Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw simply deserves better.
Perhaps the most comical part about Clayton Kershaw getting bashed and Yu Darvish getting praised for nearly an identical stat line is the fact that Darvish is getting praised by Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times — you know, the main media outlet that covers the Dodgers, not the Padres.
But hey, there are different expectations for the Boys in Blue. A rather mediocre start for a Padre is groundbreaking, simply because this is the first time that the Padres have ever beaten the Dodgers in the postseason. But if a Dodger does it? It’s horrible.
Even more ironically, Kershaw arguably had the best start of any starter in this series thus far. All four starters have allowed four or more runs (with Mike Clevinger being particularly bad) and did not last more than five innings.
Baseball-Reference certainly thinks Kershaw had a better game than Darvish, at the very least. Kershaw scored better in BR’s Game Score statistic, earning a score of 49 compared to Darvish’s 46. Julio Urias has the series’ highest score at 53.
Not only was Kershaw better in Game 2, but he has been better overall in the postseason. Both entering Wednesday and afterward, Kershaw has a better postseason ERA and WHIP than Darvish.
The Los Angeles Dodgers had a prime opportunity to capitalize on the Rally Goose's presence in the bottom of the eighth inning in NLDS Game 2. They didn't.
Heck, another pitching legend in Justin Verlander was shelled in Game 1 of the ALDS, but he did not get the kind of attention Kershaw did. You would think that winning the World Series and pitching well in said World Series would kill that narrative. But alas, ignorance around the greatest pitcher of our generation reigns supreme.