Time and time again over the last decade, the Los Angeles Dodgers have depended on Clayton Kershaw to come up big for them in big situations. Sometimes he has been able to, while other times he hasn’t.
The Dodgers need one of those clutch performances from Kershaw in Game 5 of the World Series, as they take on the Boston Red Sox on Sunday night facing elimination.
Kershaw did not have his best start in Game 1 of the series, allowing seven hits and five runs in four innings while striking out five and walking three in a losing effort.
He has had two good starts the postseason, both coming at Dodger Stadium in which he gave up a combined five hits and one run in 15 innings. Kershaw has then had two bad starts, both coming on the road, where he allowed 13 hits and 10 runs (nine earned) in seven innings.
Overall in 23 innings this postseason, Kershaw has pitched to a 3.91 ERA with 21 strikeouts and seven walks. He has not yet been able to shed his poor postseason reputation, but a strong start in Game 5 to extend the Dodgers’ season certainly would help.
Another pitcher that came into this October with a poor postseason reputation is Kershaw’s opposition on Sunday night, David Price.
Price went nine postseason starts without a win coming into this year, but so far in five games (four starts), he is 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA and 18 strikeouts to go along with 10 walks in 19 innings.
In his last three appearances, including Games 2 and 3 of the World Series, Price has allowed seven hits and two runs in 12.2 innings (1.42 ERA) while striking out 14 and walking four. He pitched six innings of two-run ball in Game 2 to earn a win.
The decision to start Price was an interesting one as ace Chris Sale was lined up to start on regular rest. Red Sox manager Alex Cora decided to go with Price on three days of rest instead to give a couple more days as he has dealt with some recent arm and stomach issues.
In a bit of a surprise move, Kiké Hernandez is batting third for the Dodgers against Price. He is hitting just .135/.238/.297 this postseason, but broke out in a big way in Game 4 with a ninth-inning home run off Craig Kimbrel.
No one has had more success off Price than Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado, who has hit five home runs in his career. That is the most Price has given up to any active player and the most Machado has hit off any active pitcher.
1B: David Freese
3B: Justin Turner
CF: Kiké Hernández
SS: Manny Machado
2B: Max Muncy
RF: Yasiel Puig
LF: Chris Taylor
C: Austin Barnes
P: Clayton Kershaw
Red Sox lineup:
CF: Mookie Betts
LF: Andrew Benintendi
1B: Steve Pearce
RF: J.D. Martinez
SS: Xander Bogaerts
2B: Brock Holt
3B: Rafael Devers
C: Christian Vázquez
P: David Price
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