The Los Angeles Dodgers’ 2019 season came to a shocking end as they were defeated by the Washington Nationals in five games in the National League Division Series.
The decisive Game 5 at Dodger Stadium was a heartbreaking one as L.A. carried a 3-1 lead into the eighth inning but could not hold onto it, eventually resulting in a 7-3 loss in 10 innings.
In what was a bit of a surprising move, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts went to Clayton Kershaw out of the bullpen to protect the lead instead of one of his relievers that he trusted all season.
Kershaw made that decision look smart at first as he struck out Adam Eaton with two on and two outs in the seventh inning to escape a jam.
Roberts sent Kershaw back out for the eighth inning though, and three pitches later he had given up back-to-back home runs to Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto to tie the game.
While Kershaw took full responsibility for the loss, it is hard to put all of the blame on him considering the game was tied when he exited, and he probably shouldn’t have even been in the game in the first place.
It is no secret Kershaw has struggled in the postseason throughout his career with the Dodgers, so fans were upset to see him squander another lead. Some of them took it too far though as a video surfaced of Kershaw’s jersey being run over in the Dodger Stadium parking lot after the game.
Milwaukee Brewers infielder Keston Hiura, who grew up in Southern California and attended UC Irvine, took to social media to express his displeasure with those fans:
This ain’t it https://t.co/NJLtZxro7N
— Keston Hiura (@Kestdaddy) October 11, 2019
Kershaw has been one of the best and most popular Dodgers throughout the course in his career, winning three Cy Young Awards and an MVP while also consistently being in the top 20 in Major League Baseball in jersey sales.
He still has two years remaining on his contract after signing an extension last offseason, so it will be interesting to see how fans view him moving forward after another postseason in which he struggled, even if he wasn’t the sole reason the Dodgers lost the series.
Now 31 years old, it has become clear that Kershaw is no longer the pitcher he once was. He will be part of another strong team in 2020.