In a disappointing turn of events, Clayton Kershaw’s Saturday start against the division-rival Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League Division Series ended disastrously. The star pitcher’s outing lasted a mere eight batters and less than one inning. By the time he left the field, the Los Angeles Dodgers were already facing a daunting 6-0 deficit with only a single out recorded. The shockwaves of this early exit reverberated through the stands at Dodger Stadium, leaving fans stunned and disheartened.
The Dodgers had entered the postseason well-aware of Kershaw’s lingering shoulder issue. However, they had hoped that he would still be able to deliver a solid performance despite the setback. Unfortunately, their expectations were shattered as Kershaw endured one of the worst starts in postseason history. It all began with an error when D-backs second baseman Ketel Marte hit a double off Kershaw’s second pitch of the game, slipping out of the glove of rookie center fielder James Outman. This blunder set the tone for a disastrous inning.
Following Marte’s double, a flurry of hits from Corbin Carroll, Tommy Pham, and Christian Walker further widened the gap. The final blow came from Gabriel Moreno, the D-backs’ catcher who had previously suffered a head injury in a game earlier in the week. Moreno smashed a remarkable 419-foot three-run homer, leaving the Dodger Stadium crowd in a deafening silence. It was a painful display that only added to Kershaw’s nightmarish outing.
Kershaw’s abbreviated appearance in Game 1 established several ignominious records. It was his 454th career start and the first time he had ever allowed five consecutive hits to open a game. More dishearteningly, it was his inaugural failure to complete even a single inning in a postseason game. Only three other starting pitchers in playoff history have ever suffered a similar fate, with Dakota Hudson, Mike Foltynewicz, and Gil Heredia joining Kershaw in this unfortunate club.
In the preceding months of the regular season, Kershaw had been pitching with a tender shoulder. Despite the challenges posed by this injury, he managed to maintain his effectiveness on the mound. Utilizing a slower fastball and benefiting from additional rest between starts, Kershaw displayed resilience and managed to maintain a commendable 2.23 ERA in his last eight starts. However, the ramifications of this injury eventually caught up with him when it mattered most – the postseason.
While Clayton Kershaw’s early exit in the National League Division Series Game 1 was undeniably disheartening, it serves as a reminder of the unpredictable nature of sports. The best-laid plans can falter, and even seasoned veterans like Kershaw can succumb to unfortunate circumstances. As the series continues, it remains to be seen how the Dodgers will rebound from this setback and whether Kershaw will have an opportunity to redeem himself. One thing is for certain – the pressure and scrutiny of playoff baseball can bring unexpected trials to even the most accomplished players.