The fans at Dodger Stadium barely had time to settle into their seats before witnessing one of the most disastrous starts in Clayton Kershaw’s postseason career. Stepping onto the mound for Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Kershaw’s outing lasted a mere fraction of an inning, leaving the crowd in stunned silence. The Los Angeles Dodgers knew that their ace would be limited due to his ailing shoulder, but they certainly did not expect such a catastrophic performance.
The unraveling began with a glimmer of hope for the Dodgers, as D-backs’ second baseman Ketel Marte hit a second-pitch double that should have been ruled as an error. However, luck was not on their side as Corbin Carroll and Tommy Pham followed with back-to-back singles, quickly escalating the score. Christian Walker’s double and Gabriel Moreno’s three-run homer left the still-settling crowd in awe. Kershaw’s night came to a swift and disappointing end after a one-out walk and another double, making way for rookie pitcher Emmet Sheehan. This marked a historic low for Kershaw, being the first time in his illustrious career that he allowed five consecutive hits to open a game and failed to complete an inning.
The magnitude of Kershaw’s disastrous start becomes clearer when put into perspective. Only three other starters in postseason history have suffered a similar fate, allowing six or more runs while recording fewer than two outs. Dakota Hudson, Mike Foltynewicz, and Gil Heredia share this unfortunate distinction, but Kershaw’s performance stands out due to his illustrious career and prior postseason success. The weight of this defeat is not lost on Kershaw, who had displayed remarkable resilience during the regular season despite battling a tender shoulder.
Kershaw’s struggles with his throwing shoulder were apparent during the last two months of the regular season. Despite a slower fastball and the need for additional rest between starts, he managed to maintain an impressive 2.23 ERA in his last eight regular-season appearances. However, the toll of pitching through the discomfort finally caught up with Kershaw when it mattered most—during the postseason. The expectations were high, but he simply could not overcome the physical limitations that plagued him.
Clayton Kershaw’s disastrous start serves as a reminder of the unpredictable nature of sports. Even the most accomplished athletes can falter in moments of great pressure and physical limitation. However, it is crucial to examine the entire body of work and not solely focus on one setback. Kershaw’s career is marked by excellence, and this single performance, although disappointing, does not define him. The true measure of a great athlete lies in their ability to rebound and demonstrate resilience. Only time will tell if Kershaw can rise above this setback and leave this disappointing start behind him.
Source : ESPN.com