No matter the difficult stretch the Los Angeles Dodgers have found themselves in over recent seasons, Clayton Kershaw proved to be the stopper more times than not. Yet, even the three-time Cy Young Award failed to snap a skid when he pitched last week against the Colorado Rockies.
Without his usual sharpness, Kershaw suffered his third loss of the season and the Dodgers’ losing streak reached a then-season high seven games. It sat at 11 games, the franchise’s longest since 1944, when Kershaw took the mound Wednesday night.
Good fortune figured to be on the Dodgers’ side in the second game of a three-game series with the San Francisco Giants. Kershaw entered a lifetime 12-4 with a 1.29 ERA in 20 games (19 starts) at AT&T Park.
He was part of a collective effort that produced a 5-3 victory that snapped the losing streak, gave the Dodgers their first win since Sept. 1, and clinched a fifth consecutive trip to the postseason.
Following the game, Kershaw found comfort in getting back in the win column but also stressed an importance for the Dodgers to remain mindful of securing home-field advantage in the playoffs, via Spectrum SportsNet LA:
“Not to say this game doesn’t mean anything but for this game to have the significance it did for us, it’s more of a sense of relief now that we’ve got a win. We can’t obviously let up. But every time the losses keep mounting and mounting it gets that much harder to win a game. … Making the postseason is no small feat. We can’t take that for granted. But from where we’ve been, we want home-field. We want the division, we want home field throughout the World Series. So we’ve got a lot of things to keep going for, obviously.”
Kershaw held the Giants to just two runs (one earned) despite allowing eight hits over six innings. He threw 91 pitches, collected six strikeouts and walked just one. Just as one loss doesn’t put the team on a downward spiral, one win won’t immediately pull the Dodgers out of it.
They still are just 3-16 since Aug. 26, with Kershaw starting in two of the victories. The Dodgers do still have a 9.5-game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West standings, and their magic number to clinch the division is now down to seven.