Tuesday night, Citi Field will be swirling with high emotion as the city of New York has fallen in love. In love with a team that is filled with scrappy veterans mixed with talented rookies and a manager whose presence is one of poise and fluidity.
On the opposite seam, the Dodgers franchise has now come to a fork in the road and the direction hanging on what ace Clayton Kershaw serves up. For Kershaw, game four will be the biggest challenge of his career. It will ultimately decide not only the Dodgers legacy but even more importantly his own.
Kershaw for being the great pitcher that he is in the regular season has gone from grape to raisin in the postseason. For the accolades that he has obtained throughout his career, the playoffs are where legends are born and the average get exposed.
Let’s compare: regular season Kershaw’s ERA is 2.43 but once the playoffs hit the numbers jump to 4.99. On top of the poor ERA he has won a playoff game since the NLDS against the Braves in 2013 and is a combined 0-5 since.
For Kershaw all these numbers point to his lack of command and focus on the mound where he averages 3.4 walks per nine innings and the main reason why he hasn’t had success. The simple fact remains is that Kershaw has been mentally lost and game one was a primary example of why he has pitched so destitute.
Now Kershaw gets another chance at redemption and to help quiet the notion that all he can do is pitch in the regular season. But will it be too much for Kershaw to overcome? This is city that has fallen in love with the best young pitching staff in the game along with a David Wright who has been revitalized after playing for a Mets organization that had been mired in mediocrity for years. Do we need to mention that the entire borough of Queens is seeking the blood of Chase Utley?
For both his organization’s legacy and for his own this game four will go down as one of the most important games in Kershaw’s career. He is not only fighting the vengeful Mets nation, but he is also fighting the game that has been going on inside his own head these past five postseason starts. In a nutshell forgiving and forgetting about the past will be the key as to whether he succeeds or fails