Despite being one of the most dominant pitchers of his generation, Kershaw has failed time and time again for the Dodgers in the postseason.
"Everything everyone says about me is true right now about the postseason."
However, the Dodgers were held to three hits over the final 10 innings as they lost the series, three games to two.
With his game missing an overpowering fastball, Kershaw needs to rely on pinpoint accuracy and lots of movement on his breaking pitches this late into his career, and those are tough for a pitcher to just harness at will when your routine is broken. They had a new ballpark, the growing energy of their new city behind them and an owner willing to spend the money necessary to put the team over the top.
On the next pitch, to Soto, the 20-year-old took Kershaw out to right-center, 449 feet, tying the game at 3, sending Kershaw to his knees on the mound, then out of the game.
Kershaw was pulled immediately thereafter, and Kenta Maeda struck out the side to get out of the inning. Dodgers fans immediately began to get up and leave the stadium. Then Howie Kendrick essentially ended the game and series on his game winning grand slam.
Following the loss to the Nationals, Kershaw spoke to the media about his performance.
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"I'm not going to hang my head", Kershaw said.
"I had one job to do".
With bases loaded, Howie Kendrick hit a home run with zero outs, pushing the score to 7-3. Got one out and didn't get the other two.
Just during these Division Series games we've seen some of the best pitchers in the game struggle on short rest and coming out of the bullpen.
"Just a bad feeling", Kershaw said.
"I don't know. It wasn't how we drew it up, I know that". Turner finished the regular season with a.298 batting average, tied for 20th in the majors. It would end up as one of Kershaw's signature moments.
"I'm looking in the crowd", Rendon said. "It might linger for a while".
Clayton Kershaw might well go into the MLB Hall of Fame one day on the strength of his wonderful regular-season success - dragging behind him a painful October history that he would rather forget. And after losing the World Series finale on their home field each of the past two years, the Dodgers didn't even get that far this time.