That gem deserved Dodger fans
Dodger Stadium has seen it’s share of brilliant games in October but none of them came with the stadium empty, and none of those games deserved to be seen as much as the one last night.
As Kershaw approached the dreaded October 7th inning, you could imagine the crowd holding their collective breath and then exhaling as he dispatched the Brewers so quickly in the 7th that it could have just been one breath. It took just eight pitches for Clayton Kershaw to excise every 7th inning October in his heralded history. The crowd would have roared as Hiura took that 3rd strike, tears would have been shed, fans would have hugged, so many enthusiastic high fives would have been slammed, Dodger Stadium would have created it’s own thunderclap
It would have been wonderful.
COVID19 robbed the fans of cheering for Clayton and of Clayton hearing those cheers. Clayton would go onto pitch another inning, and probably could have pitched the 9th but this was just one weird Wild Card Series game and the Dodgers need him like this for another month.
Until last night I hadn’t really cared about missing Dodger baseball in person. I had been going to fewer and fewer games each year, and while I don’t know if I’d gone to the game if I had been able, I do know that when Clayton walked off the mound in the 8th inning, I knew I’d been robbed of something that would have filled my soul.
As far as how this game lands on the LAD leaderboard in October:
Since 1958, 54 pitchers have had a game score of 85 or better in the postseason. Five of those fifty four pitchers have been Dodgers. Four of those five games were pitched at Dodger Stadium. The only exception was the greatest postseason pitching performance in the history of baseball when Sandy Koufax shut out the Twins in Minneapolis on two days rest in game seven in 1965.
Player Date Series Opp Rslt IP H ER BB SO GSc Orel Hershiser 1988-10-16 WS OAK W 6-0 9.0 3 0 2 8 87 Don Drysdale 1963-10-05 WS NYY W 1-0 9.0 3 0 1 9 89 Sandy Koufax 1965-10-11 WS MIN W 7-0 9.0 4 0 1 10 88 Sandy Koufax 1965-10-14 WS MIN W 2-0 9.0 3 0 3 10 88 Clayton Kershaw 2020-10-01 NLWC MIL W 3-0 8.0 3 0 1 13 88 Provided by Stathead.com: View Stathead Tool Used Generated 10/2/2020.
Sure, all the other games were in the World Series, and I’ll be the first to say, that is way more impressive than beating a mediocre offensive team like the Brewers in a Wild Card Series, but it still stands with the rest as one of only five games with a game score greater than or equal to 85. As you look at each of the games on this leaderboard, if you know anything about the history of the Los Angeles Dodgers, you’ll know each of those games were legendary World Series games that directly resulted in World Championships in 1963, 1965, and 1988.
This was just a small step for the Dodgers as they try to win that elusive World Championship, but it was a huge leap for Clayton Kershaw and his October legacy.