Clayton Kershaw was dealing last night. He looked like the guy that was so dominant in the regular season. But as we’ve all seen it can fall apart so easily.
The seventh inning has been the bane of Kershaw’s playoff existence. In 2014 he gave up 6 runs to the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh. He had the same issue in Game 4 of the same series, surrendering a 3-run homer. Since then, we all hold our breaths and wait for it. Manager Dave Roberts may have been doing the same thing in Game 2 against the Chicago Cubs.
With one on and two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Roberts came out to get his pitcher. But Kershaw was having none of it. He convinced Roberts that he could get the job done.
The batter was Javy Baez – a player that’s been doing it all for the Cubs this postseason. And at that point, I think everyone watching was waiting for something to go wrong, like it has so many times for Kershaw. Then on a 1-0 pitch Baez drove a ball hard and deep to center. But, this night was different. That ball didn’t leave the stadium, rather it fell into the glove of Joc Pederson. Clayton Kershaw survived the seventh, and the Los Angeles Dodgers held on to tie the series at 1-1.
That moment could turn out to be a pivotal point in this series. This could be the moment that Kershaw needed to become the dominant postseason pitcher that we all know he can be. But it also may have been pivotal for Roberts.
Roberts was the one that made the decision to keep Kershaw in. He did it knowing what could happen. He did it knowing Kershaw’s history. He trusted his ace, and it paid off. We have to respect Roberts for that, but we also have to understand the difficulty of that situation. Had he been wrong, the great work he did this season would have been forgotten. Rather, he would have been another manager that left Kershaw in too long.