Despite all his much deserved accolades and praise during the regular season, Los Angeles Dodgers superstar lefty Clayton Kershaw has barely carried his success over into the postseason. In six career October starts, the 26-year-old’s has a 1-3 record while giving up 15 runs. Including his relief work in elimination games, Kershaw’s given up another three runs and notched one hold.
Most of those numbers are inflated by the 10 hits and seven earned runs he gave up to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series last year, but clearly Kerhsaw’s performances have been like night and day for a starter that’s led the NL in ERA and WHIP, and racked up 200-plus strikeouts in the last four seasons.
A shoe-in for the third Cy Young of his career and a heavy MVP favorite with a 21-3 record, 1.77 ERA and six complete games, Kershaw’s shot at postseason redemption begins at Dodger Stadium on Friday night against those very same Cardinals in the NL Division Series.
St. Louis will send out righty Adam Wainwright, who hasn’t had much recent postseason success either. During St. Louis’s run to the World Series last season, Wainwright started off hot with wins in his first two starts but surrendered eight runs in his final three starts. However two of those losses were by three runs or less, and Wainright still has a 2.53 career postseason ERA. The 33-year-old was behind only Kershaw with a 20-9 record this season, and third with a 2.38 ERA.
Looking up and down each squad’s lineup, Wainwright has drawn a much tougher matchup than Kershaw. The Dodgers were sixth in runs scored, third in team batting average and first in on-base percentage this season, powered by superstar outfielder Yasiel Puig and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Puig led L.A. with 92 runs scored, a .863 OPS and a .296 batting average, and Gonzalez tallied 27 home runs and 116 RBIs.
Kershaw's challenge isn't nearly as steep. The Cards struggled to score runs all year, ranking No. 9 in the NL, 10th in slugging percentage and dead last in home runs. But they still have a few capable and devastating bats in the lineup in shortstop Jhonny Peralta, left fielder Matt Holliday and first baseman Matt Adams.
Holliday and Peralta combined for 41 home runs and 165 RBIs this season, while Matt Carpenter led the team with 162 hits.
Start Time: Friday, 6:37 p.m. EST
TV Channel: Fox Sports 1
Live Online Stream: A live online stream is available at Fox Sports Go
Prediction: Dodgers over Cards, 5-2