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Author Explains Importance of Clayton Kershaw’s ‘Postseason Narrative’ With Dodgers

There has been a narrative painted of Clayton Kershaw throughout his Hall-of-Fame career. He has been an excellent regular-season pitcher and he chokes in the postseason. However, that’s not entirely true.

Andy McCullough is the author of the book “The Last of His Kind: Clayton Kershaw and the Burden of Greatness,” released Tuesday. He spoke with Dodgers Nation’s Doug McKain about the significance of Clayton Kershaw’s postseason legacy, which stands in contrast to the work he’s done in the regular season for the Dodgers since 2008:

“He’s judged to a different standard than the overwhelming majority of people in the sport. He’s judged basically to a single standard, but guess what, he’s earned it, it’s because he’s the best. No one cares if you know, Blake Snell, blows up in the postseason, because Blake Snell is not judged to that standard. He’s a great player, but he’s not judged to this standard. Kershaw is a historically important player, and I think that’s why there’s so much attention paid to the postseason.”

Andy McCullough

Because of this higher standard and the negative narrative, his successful outings have been overlooked. Remember in 2016 when Kershaw pitched in relief to get his first career save and defeat the Nationals to go to the NLCS? How about his 3–1 victory on three days’ rest in New York in Game 4 of the 2015 NLDS?

He has also pitched plenty of great games that the Dodgers have lost because of a lack of offense like Game 2 of the 2013 NLDS against the Atlanta Braves when he lost 1-0. Pitching shutout ball on three days’ rest into the seventh inning of the 2014 NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals that resulted in a 3-2 loss is another example.

Some of the best postseason performances from the veteran were in 2020 when he was healthy and well-rested because of the shortened season. Perhaps, that is the version of Kershaw who returns to the Dodgers this summer and that would be warmly welcomed.

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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Maren Angus

Maren Angus-Coombs was born in Los Angeles and raised in Nashville, Tenn. She is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and has been a sports writer since 2008. Despite being raised in the South, her sports obsession has always been in Los Angeles. She is currently a staff writer for Dodgers Nation and the LA Sports Report Network.

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