I think we can all agree, what the Cardinals have done to Clayton Kershaw over the last two post-seasons defies explanation. The tale of 2+ innings:
- B3, 18 Oct 13 – 4 runs, 5 hits, 3 LOB, 48 pitches
- B5, 18 Oct – 3 hitters, 3 hits, Kershaw KO’d, all three runners score, 7 pitches.
- T7, last night – 8 runs (6 charged to Kerhsaw), 7 hits, 29 pitches.
Really there are more similarities between the onslaught last night and that which knocked Clayton from the NLCS Game 6. In both instances, St Louis hitters aggressively attacked what he was throwing and started stringing together hits.
Kershaw is now 0-2 in the playoffs against the Cardinals, and LA would have lost all 3 of his post-season starts against STL if Matt Holliday catches the ball. Including those 2 losses he’s 5-7 lifetime against St. Louis, one of only 2 teams he has a losing record against (the other is Philadelphia, since you asked).
So we’re good, right? Kershaw has no hold on the Cardinals? Bring on the NLCS?
Much like negotiating new contracts for free agents, or buying stock, past performance is not a good indicator of future success. In Kershaw’s case that logic kinda stands on its head. Here past struggles are not a good indicator of future struggles. Sure, the Cardinals have mauled him twice under the bright lights. But last night, between Randal Grichuk’s solo shot and the 7th inning uprising, Clayton dominated this lineup. While he’s not going to retire 16 in a row every time, that type of artistry is more representative of how he pitches; not 3 horrible innings at the worst possible time of the season.
As we saw with the Puig nonsense, this LA team is highly motivated – much more so, I think, then they were in 2013. They were expected to win the league last season by the ‘experts’ but were eliminated by the best team in the NL (based on regular season record). This time round LA holds the better record hammer, and so they’re expected to win by virtually everyone. They’re also a better team this year – Ramirez is healthy, and their lineup is cooking, as we all saw while biting our fingernails off in the 8th and 9th innings yesterday.
The Cardinals put a serious chink in their armor by rising from the dead and beating the presumptive NL Cy Young Awardee and possible MVP. It’s hard to say Game 2 of a 5-game series, when up 1-0, is a must-win game, but I believe this one is. Head back to Busch up 2-0 and you can sweep the Dodgers away. Go back 1-1 and you guarantee another date with Kershaw.
It’s unrealistic to expect they’ll hang 4+ on him again. He’s too good. STL needs to win tonight.