LOS ANGELES – Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw became the first pitcher in franchise history to allow four homers in a postseason game, giving up four solo shots Friday in Los Angeles’ 9-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 1 of the National League Division Series. We’re parsing a small sample to begin with, but dig a bit deeper, and you’ll find that in his three starts this year as a member of the Diamondbacks, he went 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings.
Game 2 is Saturday night, with Rich Hill facing Robbie Ray and the Diamondbacks in a matchup of left-handers. Their starters are better than their middle relief, and both are better than their closer Fernando Rodney, whose 4.23 ERA and career long inconsistency has Arizona fans cringing and/or praying every time he’s brought in. Stripling pitched more relief innings than any Dodgers pitcher this season but he had a 6.08 ERA over his final 13 appearances.
Wood had a 2.72 ERA during the regular season.
“I was in the clubhouse because I couldn’t really handle it”, Walker said of the suspenseful moments before reliever Archie Bradley hit a two-run triple in the seventh.
Los Angeles might have the best record in baseball this season, but they haven’t fared as well against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Paul Goldschmidt, J.D. Martinez and A.J. Pollock can all put a charge into one and leave the park at any time.
Right-hander Taijuan Walker (9-9, 3.49) will start Game 1 instead, with Greinke the probable starter in Game 3 Monday in Phoenix. They advanced to the NLDS via an 11-8 home win over the Rockies Wednesday night in the NL Wild Card Game. They also control the mental aspect of the game, creating an aura of invincibility that gives them a distinct advantage before they even step onto the field.
First pitch starts at 7:30 p.m.at Dodgers Stadium.
Kershaw is Kershaw. Is there much more to say? The Dodgers showed no signs of rust despite not playing in several days, as they jumped on Arizona with a 4-0 lead after the first inning. The Dodgers will need him healthy and productive if they’re going to make a run at a title.