Going into his Game 1 World Series start for the Los Angeles Dodgers versus the Tampa Bay Rays in Arlington, Texas, Kershawâ€™s pedestrian 11-12 career playoff record and 4.31 ERA is nearly two full runs worse than his 2.43 career ERA and unheard of 175-76 record.
His career 5.40 World Series ERA in five prior starts and his October struggles follow Kershaw 12 months a year every year, and will until the future Hall Of Fame lefty exorcises his playoff demons.
It didnâ€™t matter that the 32-year-old winner of three Cy Young Awards, one MVP and five league ERA titles had a 3.32 ERA and a 2-1 mark with 23 strikeouts in 19 innings.
It was all about the here and the now, the World Series.
Another opportunity to help bring Los Angeles its first championship since Kershawâ€™s birth year of 1988.
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In Arlington, 23 miles from his high school in the Dallas suburbs, Kershaw was tremendous. He permitted just one solo homer over six innings, striking out eight, giving up two total hits and a walk, setting the Dodgers up for a Game 1 8-3 blowout victory Tuesday night.
It was a rocky first inning for the L.A. ace. After allowing a hit and a walk, he fielded a two-out squib groundball to the left side of home plate by Manuel Margot and made a calmly and composed throw to first to end the frame unscathed.
Kershaw threw 20 pitches, with only one swinging strike, a strikeout of Hunter Renfroe. But on the Fox broadcast, analyst John Smoltz remarked with two on and two outs that if he got out of the first inning without allowing a run, heâ€™d cruise through the rest of his start.
Kershaw cruised through the second and third innings, each on 11 pitches before slipping up and throwing 14 pitches in a 1-2-3 fourth.
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