Clayton Kershaw is one of the greatest pitchers in MLB history and is arguably the greatest pitcher of his generation. Kershaw has been nothing but elite for the Los Angeles Dodgers, putting together one of the most impressive regular-season resumes in MLB history.
The one area that Kershaw has consistently struggled has been the postseason. Starting against the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013, Kershaw has had several troubling moments — both as a starter and as a reliever.
With Kershaw getting the start in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Dodgers fans were crossing their fingers that they would get the regular-season version of Kershaw, not the postseason version. Unfortunately, the latter showed up for the Boys in Blue and delivered a disastrous first inning on the bump.
Clayton Kershaw's postseason demons return at the worst time for the Dodgers
Five runs. Kershaw did his best 2017 Yu Darvish impression and allowed five runs in the first frame against the Diamondbacks. The future Hall of Fame southpaw didn't just allow five runs in the first frame, he allowed five runs before he could even record an out.
Kershaw would allow a sixth run before Dave Roberts eventually came out and pulled the plug. Kershaw exited the mound to a chorus of boos. After Saturday's first inning, Kershaw's career postseason ERA has now climbed to 4.43. It is the seventh time he has allowed five runs in a postseason start (in 31 total starts).
The Dodgers came into the NLDS against the Arizona Diamondbacks as heavy favorites. Arizona upset the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card Round and it was viewed as a great thing for the Dodgers, as LA dominated Arizona in the second half of the regular season.
The entire complexion of the series changes after the Diamondbacks dropped a five spot in the first inning. The best pitcher in franchise history instantly gave his team a massive uphill battle, one that the Dodgers historically have not responded well to in the postseason.
It is safe to say that this is not the postseason start that Kershaw or the Dodgers were looking for. If the team cannot battle back and drops the first game there will only be one person to blame.