All eyes on Kershaw & Morrow

Clayton Kershaw has started four straight game one NLDS,  and while this will be the first time he will start against a division rival in the NLDS everything else should seem familiar. In those previous four starts, the Dodgers have won two games and lost two games.

When they have won game one, they have advanced to the NLCS. When they have lost game one, they have not. Simple

Only one time has Clayton been outpitched and that was in 2015. In 2014 he had been brilliant for six innings, his competitor had been knocked out much earlier, and the Dodgers asked him to do something he was unable to do.  Game one of 2014 still stands as the single biggest disappointment in all the years of watching Clayton Kershaw pitch.

That, and the poor performances in the two game six NLCS games when the Dodgers were bleeding out and instead of applying a tourniquet he pushed on the artery.

But, for the most part, Kershaw has been good enough to pitch the Dodgers to a victory in these NLDS game ones.  Kershaw will be facing possibly his most formidable offensive team, and as we saw with Chris Sale last night, just being the best pitcher in the regular season doesn’t mean squat in October.

Year    Series Opp  Rslt  IP H ER BB SO GSc          Exited
2013   NLDS g1 ATL  W6-1 7.0 3  1  3 12  76     7b 3 out a5
2014   NLDS g1 STL L9-10 6.2 8  8  0 10  36 7t -2- 2 out d1
2015   NLDS g1 NYM  L1-3 6.2 4  3  4 11  61 7t 123 2 out d1
2016   NLDS g1 WSN  W4-3 5.0 8  3  1  7  45     5b 3 out a1

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/6/2017.

Either the game will be close enough that Brandon Morrow must pitch in a highly leveraged situation or the Dodgers have blown open the game. I will not subscribe to the idea that the Diamondbacks blew open Clayton Kershaw. Which means that Morrow is the man that has to get the ball to Kenley Jansen with the Dodgers still in a position to win the game.

Morrow has been brilliant this year but none of that will matter if he can’t be the October bridge. The history of broken bridges is long in recent October Dodger lore. Broxton, Kuo, Sherrill, JP Howell, Baez, and Blanton have all failed to do the one job required of them after doing the job time after time during the summer.

Kershaw/Morrow/Jansen sounds like an unbeatable trio. Let us hope it is.

Because as I said up top, It is quite simple, win game one, win the series.

If you want an in-depth look at Clayton Kershaw, there is no one better to deliver that than Joe Posnanski.

 

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