Dodgers News: Clayton Kershaw Gave No Thought To Potential Redemption Against Astros In World Series

The Los Angeles Dodgers are back in the World Series for a third time since 2017 and nearly faced the Houston Astros in a rematch of that year if not for the Tampa Bay Rays avoiding a historic collapse.

The Rays took a commanding 3-0 lead in the American League Championship Series, only to drop the next three games. They avoided being on the wrong end of MLB history by winning Game 7 at Petco Park over the weekend.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers needed to fight their way back from a 3-1 deficit to the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series. Their pitching plans were thrown awry when Clayton Kershaw was scratched from a start due to back spasms and the Dodgers played catch up the rest of the way.

Kershaw was in the bullpen for Games 6 and 7 but never appeared, and now gets to start in another World Series opener. “It was a special series,” he said of the Dodgers rattling off three consecutive wins in an elimination scenario.

“To be able to get to go on to the World Series, get to play a team like the Braves and take them to seven games after being down 3-1, just a testament to those guys in the clubhouse.”

Although the Dodgers have given Walker Buehler the Game 1 start in postseason series since 2019, Kershaw has now taken the ball in the first game of the their last three World Series trips. But the thought of potentially getting redemption against the Astros never crossed his mind.

“You can’t think like that,” Kershaw said. “The Rays are a very formidable opponent. Winning the World Series is going to be special, no matter who you play; 2017 is over. We can’t go back and worry about that.

“All to say, this World Series against the Rays is what we’re prepared for now.”

Kershaw was among the more vocal Dodgers to criticize the Astros after MLB found them to have conducted an elaborate sign-stealing system in 2017, but he also stressed there wasn’t any benefit to giving it any energy this year.

And although Kershaw has plenty of history making a Game 1 start in the World Series, there is only so much value to be taken from that. “I think every year is different,” he said.

“Obviously the postseason, you have that experience to draw on. Just trying to learn from that as best you can. But at the same time, every year is different, every team is different. The Rays are a different team from the Astros and Red Sox. I’m going to prepare like I always do and be as ready as I can be.”

Rays similar to Dodgers

The Rays’ depth and stellar pitching has drawn comparisons to the Dodgers, but Kershaw also noted Tampa Bay’s lineup that was effective during the regular season and gone quiet in October.

“They’ve got a great team. Their pitching staff is what gets talked about a lot but they’ve got a lot of guys on the offensive side that can make you pay if you make mistakes,” Kershaw said.

“(Randy) Arozarena, the way he’s going right now, swinging the bat really well, try to limit him as much as you can. They try to play the platoon advantage, so they’ve got a lot of guys moving in and out. They’ve got a great team.”

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