Dodgers News: Clayton Kershaw Approached World Series Game 1 Start Like Any Other In Postseason
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Clayton Kershaw had been under bright lights throughout various points of his 10-year career with the Los Angeles Dodgers. But the stage had never been more grand for three-time Cy Young Award winner than Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, in Game 1 of the World Series.

Prior to his outing against the Houston Astros, the furthest Kershaw had advanced in the postseason was Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. Both instances ended in a shellacking of the loss on his watch.

Despite with the heightened sense of pressure and expectations, Kershaw took the mound at Chavez Ravine, like he has countless times, and turned in a masterpiece.

“Tonight was one of those nights I think the first time in a while, where we’ve seen all three of his pitches synced up,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

“He just was repeating the delivery, held the velocity. Was throwing the baseball where he needed to, where he wanted to. This was a special night to Clayton.”

Kershaw did not allow a baserunner until Josh Reddick’s grounder to the right side of the infield got by Cody Bellinger and Logan Forsythe for a one-out single in the third inning. Alex Bregman led off the fourth with a game-tying home run.

Aside from the two hits, Kershaw struck out the side in the third and fourth innings. He finished with 11 on the night, one shy of matching a career postseason high. Efficiency allowed the Dodgers to ride Kershaw through seven dominant innings.

He became the first Dodgers pitcher to strike out at least 10 in a World Series game since Sandy Koufax in 1965. The double-digit strikeout performance was the fifth of Kershaw’s career in the playoffs.

It was further a noteworthy accomplishment considering it came against the team that struck out the least amount of times during the regular season. “I think this team is a really good hitting team. They hit a lot of homers and don’t strike out,” Kershaw said.

“There’s little room for error. So it’s important for me to establish pitches, be able to throw multiple things for strikes, and thankful I was able to do that tonight. I made a few mistakes, obviously Bregman got me, then threw one down the middle to Correa that he popped up; that could’ve gone a long way, too. So for the most part, though, I’ll take it.”

On the eve of his start, Kershaw said there would be some butterflies and a certain level of angst. He deemed it normal, and said once the feeling subsided it was likely time to retire. With a World Series start under his belt, he was unable to differentiate from previous postseason outings.

“I don’t know if you can decipher between a postseason start and a World Series start,” Kershaw said. “The adrenaline, I feel like every game is so much more magnified. You can’t really tell the difference between another postseason or a World Series start.

“But definitely feels good to say it was the World Series, and it feels good to say we’re 1-0. And we have to come back tomorrow and do it again.”