|Clayton Kershaw (facing camera) celebrates Thursday|
after getting the final two outs of the decisive Game 5
on one day of rest in the NLDS against the Nationals.
Clayton Kershaw has carried a bad rap as a postseason choker -- or something akin to that -- for a while now. The NLDS this year probably wipes that reputation out. He started Game 4 (an elimination game for the Los Angeles Dodgers) on three days rest, and gave them 110 pitches and 7.2 innings. And they won, even though Kershaw wasn't the winning pitcher.
Two days later, he entered in the ninth inning to protect a one-run lead with two men on and the National League's OPS leader at the plate. He got a popup from Daniel Murphy, then fanned a pinch-hitter, and the Dodgers advanced.
It was a dramatic moment, made more dramatic by Kershaw's balky back, which limited him to less than 150 innings in the regular season.
His postseason stats remain unimpressive. Kershaw has pitched 77 innings in the playoffs in his illustrious career (12 starts, 4 relief appearances). His career ERA in the postseason is 4.79, almost two-and-half runs worse than his regular season career ERA. Even in this most recent series, his ERA was 5.84.