New York Mets Victory Equals Yet Another Clayton Kershaw Playoff Loss
The New York Mets took Game 1 one of the NLDS as Jacob DeGrom out-dueled Clayton Kershaw, arguably the best pitcher in baseball. But with the loss, the Dodgers ace saw his career playoff record drop to 1-6, leaving many to wonder if the Los Angeles pitcher will ever come up big in the playoffs.
DeGrom and Kershaw pitched a stalemate for most of the game, with New York taking an early lead in the 4th inning when Daniel Murphy crushed a 2-0 Kershaw fastball into the visiting bullpen to open the frame, according to MLB. Then in the seventh inning, Kershaw walked the bases loaded, prompting Dodgers manager Don Mattingly to remove a less-than-dominant Kershaw from the game.
Mets captain David Wright proceeded to rip a 3-2 pitch off reliever Pedro Baez back up the middle with two outs, adding two runs to New York’s lead. Both runs were charged to Kershaw who later admitted he just didn’t have what it took to win.
“I got outpitched,” a clearly aggravated Kershaw said after the game was over. “That’s basically the moral of the story.”
And unfortunately for Clayton, this is a recurring theme in the postseason.
While his regular season career numbers are off the charts – he boasts a career 2.43 ERA and a staggering 1.03 WHIP according to ESPN – Kershaw’s numbers in the postseason jump to a whopping 4.99 ERA and 1.23 WHIP.
His regular season numbers are so good, many websites around the laegue, like Numbers on Fire, have already proclaimed Kershaw the clear favorite to win the NL CY Young award this year.
“Kershaw has been hurt by subpar defense, and relative to Kershaw, [Jake] Arrieta and [Zack] Greinke have had the benefit of better pitcher framing,” the article states. “[But] in terms of the factors listed at BP, Arrieta and Greinke have a significant advantage in terms of runs added from factors out of their control. This probably puts Kershaw over the top.”
This isn’t the first time a stud pitcher in the regular season has faced adversary when it comes to performing in the big game. Hall Of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux of the Atlanta Braves, for example, also struggled when the postseason rolled around. In fact, the majority of Atlanta’s famed “Big Three,” Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Steve Avery would dominate so mightily in the regular season, but fail to win it all with the exception of the 1995 strike-shortened World Series.
But regardless of history, the loss to the New York Mets now has Dodgers manager Don Mattingly in a bind, according to the NY Post.
“At the least, the Mets have now assured that Mattingly can’t avoid a crucial decision come Tuesday’s Game 4, assuming the Dodgers win a game to get that far: Will the Dodgers’ beleaguered skipper go back to Kershaw on three days’ rest, after throwing 113 pitches in this losing effort?”
On the flip side of the equation, this was the Jacob Degrom’s first ever playoff outing for a team that hadn’t seen the postseason in almost 10 years.
“This is a good start for a team that hasn’t been in the postseason for a long time,” Mets manager Terry Collins said after the game. “We needed a confidence boost and Jake gave it to us.”
The series continues tonight in L.A. with another young Mets arm, Noah Syndegard, taking the mound tonight for New York against the equally devastating Zack Greinke. The Mets will then roll out ace Matt Harvey for Game 3 and have the luxury of starting another rookie Steven Matz in Game 4.
Whether or not the New York Mets will be squaring off against Clayton Kershaw in that game remains to be seen.
[Photo credits: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images]