Clayton Kershaw hit a short rough patch to at the end of the season, with four starts from Aug. 27 to Sept. 13 where he seemed to lose his "stuff," but even during that time he was still one of the best pitchers in the league.
In those four inconsistent starts, he threw 24.2 innings and gave up 30 hits and 12 runs with 26 strikeouts for a 3.65 ERA. Really, there was just one bad start where he gave up five runs in five innings, and that happened at Coors field, the stadium where pitchers go to die.
Kershaw's mishaps did not last long, and as the Dodgers head to the playoffs he is geared up and ready to go. In his final two starts of the season he unleashed 13 innings of shutout ball and gave up seven hits while striking out 18. Yeah, this guy is ready for playoffs.
Friday marked the end of the regular season for Kershaw, and it was a historic one. He finished with a 16-9 record, 1.83 ERA, 230 innings pitched, 224 strikeouts and 0.922 WHIP. He joins Sandy Koufax as the only LA Dodger to finish a season with an ERA below 2.00.
For years as Kershaw made his way through the Dodgers organization, people within baseball always compared him to Koufax, but it is crazy to think that anyone expected him to live up to that. Yet here we are, just having witnessed one of the best regular seasons by a LA Dodgers pitcher in the team's history. That is so wild to even think about!
The Dodgers may not have home-field advantage in the playoffs, but they have the Kershaw advantage. And following their ace, and almost certain NL Cy Young winner, they will be throwing Zack Greinke, who is not half-bad either.
The Dodgers are waiting to find out who their opponent for the opening series of the playoffs will be, either the Braves or Cardinals. Kershaw did not face the Braves this season, but in two starts against the Cardinals he gave up 13 hits for six runs in 13 innings with 10 strikeouts.