So this is what Clayton Kershaw’s redemption looks like. The best pitcher in the game looked like the best version of himself on Tuesday night — which isn’t always a given in the postseason — pitching the Los Angeles Dodgers past the New York Mets in the Game 4 of the National League Division Series.
Kershaw didn’t give the Mets much, and the Dodgers offense got enough to send this series back to L.A. for a decisive Game 5 on Thursday after a 3-1 win for the Kershaw’s crew.
• Give Mr. Kershaw his propers, America. Shaking off his less-than-stellar postseason rep, Kershaw gave the Dodgers exactly what they needed — seven innings, only three hits allowed and eight strikeouts. There was no grand meltdown, no huge disappointment. On three days’ rest, he did exactly what would keep the Dodgers’ season alive. It won’t rewrite the Kershaw-postseason narrative. That’ll make more than a NLDS win. But it’s a step in the right direction.
• Justin Turner, the former Met, had the big hit for the Dodgers in this one. His two-run double in the third inning capped a three-run rally for L.A. It was about the best contact the Dodgers made off Mets starter Steven Matz.
• Win or lose, you can’t argue with these results. Daniel Murphy, the Mets infielder, hit his second home run of the series off Kershaw. Murphy isn’t a power hitter (he had a career-high 14 homers this season) and Kershaw only gave up five homers to left-handed batters like Murphy during the regular season. Sometimes odd things happen in the postseason.
• Lots of 0-fors in the Mets’ box score, which is in part to the pitcher they were facing. Regardless, in a possible clincher, there can’t be that many zeroes in the hit column. Among the zero-hit club: Travis d’Arnaud, Lucas Duda, David Wright and Curtis Granderson. The latter two at least drew walks.
• Yasiel Puig only played in two games in September for the Dodgers, but he got the call to start here in the crucial Game 4. Puig, who had to be rusty, was 0-for-3.
The seventh inning for Kershaw. Maybe you’ve heard, but he’s had a bit of problem here in his postseason past. Not on Tuesday night. He let Yoenis Cespedes get on base to start the inning with a funky infield dribbler, but then Kershaw forced a foul out to first base by d’Arnaud, a deep fly to center by Duda and a sharp Wilmer Flores groundout to third. There was a big exhale afterward, you can bet.
On Jansen’s four-out save, which isn’t exactly his bread-and-butter. From Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times:
• The Game 5 pitching matchup. Jacob deGrom gets the ball for the Mets. He was spectacular in Game 1, striking out 13 and not allowing a run in seven innings. He’ll be opposed by Greinke, who wasn’t at his absolute best in Game 2 for the Dodgers, but his regular-season pedigree can’t be denied here. He’s at the top of the list of NL Cy Young candidates, so the Dodgers have to feel good about their starter.
• Kershaw getting it done for the Dodgers. Not only is it big for the series, but it’s big for his career and postseason legacy.
• Still no Chase Utley on the field for the Dodgers. Not playing in the New York part of the series sure helped limit any retaliation for his Game 2 slide. But will we see him in Game 5 and how will the Mets react? Even in L.A.
We’re headed to another Game 5 this postseason. The Dodgers and Mets now head back to L.A., where it’s a one-and-done situation. That game happens Thursday at 8 p.m. ET with Game 1 stud Jacob deGrom (14-8, 2.54 ERA) facing possible Cy Young winner Zack Greinke (19-3, 1.66). The game will be broadcast on TBS.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
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