After coming up a win short in the 2017 World Series, Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers have made the climb back. The road was difficult, both on a personal level and for the team as a whole, but alas they are four wins from immortality.
Kershaw and the Dodgers are in a similar position heading into the matchup with the Boston Red Sox. The left-handed ace is essentially pitching for his legacy, while the organization is looking for their first World Series title since 1988.
There’s some belief experience is what helped carry the Dodgers through a rocky season and again in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series. And of course, there’s last year’s trip to the Fall Classic.
“I think it’s good that we’ve been there,” Kershaw said. “I think for our team to get to come back after last year and get a taste of it what it was like last year, and going to seven games, playing the full seven and coming that close, I think the experience can help a little bit as far as what to expect.”
When asked what it means to have personally pitched in the World Series, Kershaw said, “Good experience, yeah.” Then without missing a step corrected himself, “Not a good experience, but experience.”
While the perception that’s been formed is that of Kershaw being unable to succeed in the postseason, he’s certainly had moments of brilliance. Yet, without a World Series, some consider his career to be incomplete.
Kershaw didn’t overtly state as much, but his desire to be named champion is clear. “It’s pretty critical. You know, I really want to win the World Series,” he said.
“I think that’s no different than the other 50 guys in both locker rooms, though. I think the only difference maybe is that because we’ve gotten so close in the past, because we’ve gotten to go to the postseason, we’re a little bit spoiled in our expectations every year with the Dodgers, which is a great thing.
“When we go to the postseason six times in a row, it becomes that much more evident that we’re very fortunate to be on a great team, but we’re still missing that ring. There’s no secret that we want to win.”
Kershaw will look to take that first step toward a ring on Tuesday when he starts opposite Chris Sale in Game 1 at Fenway Park.