Continued and persistent rumors of the demise of Clayton Kershaw seem to have been greatly exaggerated. Is this the game where Clayton may have actually recognized that he is no longer the early version of himself, and now must become a finesse pitcher? There is nothing wrong with being a finesse pitcher, but it just may not sit with him very well. In Game 2, he was extremely efficient. He did not try to K everyone, but instead pitched to soft contact.
To not believe that Kershaw was unhappy (is that the right word) with the decision to start Ryu in Game 1, I think is a bit naïve. He is human and VERY PROUD and has been the unquestioned Ace since 2010. Of course it did not go down without question. I agreed with the decision to start Ryu in Game 1. His game against SF was much better than Kershaw’s. It gave Clayton an extra day of rest. The only downside would be Kershaw’s ego. I give Doc credit for putting team before pitcher. Kershaw cannot complain about the results, and he is in position to come back and pitch in Game 5 if needed (it will not be). This is the first playoff game EVER Kershaw has gone 8 innings. The fan in me wanted to see Kershaw finish, but I can see the benefit of using Jansen in a clean inning situation. A GOOD and confident Jansen is probably going to be needed for a WS victory. The strikeout of Freddie Freeman to end the game has to be a huge confidence builder.
After the game in an interview with Rosenthal, we learned that Doc had a great plan with Kershaw. If Duda is announced, Kershaw stays in the game, but once Flowers was announced, the decision to bring in Jansen forced the Braves to burn two bench players. Doc reiterated this strategy in his post game presser. Maybe Doc has raised his Baseball IQ to above a bucket of hammers???
Overall this was a perfect game for the Dodgers. Joc another leadoff extra base hit. Manny a HUUUGE HR. Puig was fun. Grandal goes deep. He is swinging for a HR every swing, but tonight he caught up with a sinker that did not sink. And the team gets a 2nd consecutive shutout. It might have been a 3rd consecutive shutout without the 9th inning HRs given up by Kenley in Game 163, but if he learned from that, all the better. Maybe it becomes Manny time for the next 9 wins.
Now the series moves to Atlanta, and next man up is Walker Buehler. He gets a 6th day between starts so he should be well rested. The Braves see two relative finesse pitchers, and now here comes the heat. The Dodgers have won twice while compiling a total of 10 hits in those two games. Maybe this Sunday’s game will replicate last Sunday’s.
We got to see a few Aces today; Verlander, Kluber, Sale, and Kershaw. Verlander was unhittable through 5 but had a tough 6th. He was hitting spots at 97-98. He is 7-0 in ALDS. Sale seemed to tire in the 6th. Kluber got into trouble in the 4th and he was gone in the 5th after two more Astros’ jacks. Jhoulys Chacin and the Brewers bullpen was dominant against a Rockies team that seems to have forgotten how to hit. Maybe they can get it back together when they get back to Colorado. I sure would like to see the Brewers/Rockies go 5. But today belonged to the Dodgers Ace…Clayton Kershaw.