Clayton Kershaw's reason for returning to Dodgers is exactly what you'd suspect

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers / Harry How/GettyImages

If Game 1 of the Dodgers' 2023 NLDS isn't etched into your psyche and doesn't haunt your every waking minute, can you even call yourself a fan? Though you probably need no reminding, that series was a cavalcade of failure from top to bottom for LA, who lost by nine runs in that first game to the 84-win Diamondbacks and went on to get swept . LA had a 8-5 record against Arizona in the regular season, but the bats went cold; the five batters with the most plate appearances on the teamonly got 10 hits among them throughout the entire NLDS.

And then there's Clayton Kershaw, who's an enigma. It baffles the mind that anyone can be rightfully considered one of the greatest pitchers of all-time, but one of the worst performers throughout his many postseason appearances. He's maintained a lifetime 2.48 ERA in regular seasons and a 4.49 ERA in postseasons. In that first game against the Diamondbacks, when he allowed six runs and struck out zero batters, his ERA for the 1/3 inning he pitched was 162.00.

Kershaw is coming back to the Dodgers in 2024, which is nothing but a good thing for them, but with a team so likely to make it back to the postseason this year, it does set off an alarm bell in fans, and Kershaw surely knows that. Per Fabian Ardaya, he said that the deciding factor in coming back to LA was that he "didn't want to go out that way."

Clayton Kershaw will return to Dodgers in hopes of correcting past postseason mistakes

Kershaw's postseason struggles are so known and openly mocked that even a burrito joint all the way across the country in Brooklyn took a petty (if well-drawn) shot at him via choking hazard poster. Starting him in a regular season game always strikes fear into batters; postseason starts seem to do the exact opposite. Kershaw has been the subject of Padres memes (though that incident actually seemed to curse them a little), and it would probably be one of the first tidbits your Dodger-hating friend would pull out to try to dunk on them.

This year, Kershaw will get another shot at the postseason and has new team members who will hopefully be able to provide some run support this time around. We did see a brilliant postseason Kershaw once, back during the 2020 Wild Card game against the Brewers, where he almost threw a complete game shutout and struck out 13 batters. Let's see that again in 2024, please. Anything but last year's NLDS.