2023 NLDS: Clayton Kershaw’s Shortest Start Of Career Leaves Dodgers In Game 1 Deficit

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers collectively acknowledged there once was a reality where the longtime ace was not available for the 2023 MLB postseason.

But Kershaw continued to push through a left shoulder injury, benefitting from extra rest between each start, and he was lined up to take the ball against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 1 of the National League Division Series.

“Speaking for Clayton as well, we feel as good as we’ve felt in the last couple of months,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said prior to first pitch. “There was a point where I didn’t think that we would be in this position.

“A lot of people get a lot of credit, but I think mostly Clayton because to be able to kind of take a step back and let the process happen, I think he bought into that and allowed for that to happen to put him in this position. I’m very fortunate. I think he feels very good about it.

“And it’s also a good feeling that he’s healthy. So it’s not like we are just kind of limping to this position. I can honestly say this is as good as he’s felt in the last couple of months.”

Hours later Kershaw labored through the shortest start of his career, both in terms of the regular season and playoffs. He retired just one of eight batters faced and allowed six runs. That was the most allowed by a Dodgers pitcher when recording one out or fewer.

The Diamondbacks made a bevy of hard contact, as Kershaw allowed six hits with exit velocities of at least 95 mph, the most in his career for one inning.

The six runs Kershaw allowed are his most in a postseason game since giving up eight to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of the 2014 NLDS. Though, even that was over 6.2 innings pitched.

Kershaw became just the third pitcher in postseason history to give up at least six earned runs while lasting one-third of an inning or less.

What’s next for Clayton Kershaw?

Although Kershaw’s start was just 35 pitches, the Dodgers presumably will not give any consideration to bringing him back before a potential Game 4.

Kershaw has not started on regular rest since coming off the 15-day injured list, but he and the Dodgers said possibly doing so in the NLDS would not be an issue.

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