Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw gets the task of starting Game 1 of the NLDS tonight at Turner Field as the Dodgers look to start a deep postseason run.
Kershaw is the likely National League Cy Young award after posting a 2013 season with a 16-9 record, 1.83 ERA and led the NL with 232 strikeouts. Yesterday, TBS analyst John Smoltz was on the Dan Patrick Show and was asked if he would pick Kershaw to start a team:
I totally agree. I think he’s the best of the best and I’d have no problem comparing him in any era. If you had to start a team right now, I’d argue he’s the guy you start your team with. When you look across baseball, you don’t find these left-handed polished pitchers anymore. He’s doing it at a pretty consistent rate and getting better.
Tonight, Kershaw will be making his first postseason start since the NLCS in 2009 and while he hasn’t faced the Braves this season, he’s 4-0 with a 2.45 career ERA against them.
The Dodgers are just 19-14 in his starts and he received 3.79 runs per start, but that number seems to be inflated since he got 11 runs of support last time out. Kershaw also allowed four or more runs just twice in 33 starts and NBC Sports and MLB Network analyst Bob Costas agreed with Smoltz’s thoughts today:
I couldn’t argue with that. Clayton Kershaw for the moment is more than just the best pitcher in baseball. He’s led the major leagues in ERA three consecutive years. Plus he’s left handed, happens to pitch in a pitcher’s park. He goes deep into games, he’s a good all around athlete. That’s a good choice.
Kershaw’s talents will be on display tonight as the Dodgers look to start a World Series run and capture their seventh championship and first since 1988.
In case you missed it, here’s an update on Andre Ethier’s injured ankle.