On Friday evening, Clayton Kershaw was called upon to start the first game of the NLDS. It comes as little surprise, seeing as Clayton Kershaw is the most dominant regular season pitcher in baseball. This season he suffered from a back issue, but when healthy there was no one better. He started 21 games this season, throwing 149 innings. He posted a 1.69 ERA with a 1.80 FIP. His fWAR of 6.5 was tied for the best among pitchers, and that’s with 9 less starts.
Okay, so we all know what Kershaw can do in the regular season, but are his postseason numbers really that bad? Well, his career postseason ERA is 4.59. He gives up more walks and more home runs. He simply isn’t the same pitcher.
That’s definitely not what the Los Angeles Dodgers need from their ace. It’s just bizarre that a pitcher can be so dominant in the regular season, and fail to come anywhere close to that in the postseason.
And Friday, against the Nationals, we saw another instance of Kershaw struggling in the postseason. He threw only five innings surrendering eight hits and three earned runs. Now, that’s not a horrible start and he did get the win, but it’s also not what the Dodgers were looking for. Any team wants their ace to come in and shut down the opposing team. They want them to set the stage for the rest of the series. Kershaw didn’t do that and has never done that. He may help you get to the postseason, but he has yet to show that he can win once he’s there. The Dodgers are going to be in trouble if he doesn’t figure it out.