2023 NLDS: James Outman Let ‘Nerves Get The Best Of Me’ On Defensive Misplay

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

While the Los Angeles Dodgers losing to the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 1 of the National League Division Series will be remembered for Clayton Kershaw making the shortest start of his career, regular season or postseason, James Outman didn’t do the longtime ace any favors.

Kershaw allowed six runs and recorded just one out, but he started in a tough spot when Outman misplayed a ball. Ketel Marte hit a line drive to left-center field and Outman was there to make the play, but the ball bounced off his glove, which ended up being ruled a double.

“It kind of just hit the heel of my glove,” Outman explained after the Dodgers’ 11-2 loss. “It got on me a little quicker than I was expecting it to and I couldn’t come up with it.”

Marte’s line drive had an 116 mph exit velocity, making it a tough play for anyone to make. But defense has been a strength for Outman this season, which made it all the more surprising he couldn’t come up with the catch.

“I just kind of handcuffed myself and didn’t give myself enough space,” he added.

Outman attributed it to being a bit nervous in the first postseason start of his career, which is something he talked about needing to manage heading into the playoffs.

“I think my nerves got the best of me,” Outman admitted. “Just was a little tight that first inning and I didn’t set the tone very well for us.”

But after that, Outman settled in and believes he’s in a good spot moving forward.

“It’s kind of like jumping into a cold pool,” Outman said. “It’s over with now, so move onto the next one.”

Regardless of Outman making the catch or not, the Diamondbacks still had seven hard-hit balls in eight plate appearances against Kershaw, with the lone plate appearance that didn’t register as such ending on a walk.

It likely wouldn’t have made much difference in the outcome because of that, but it’s also impossible to guess how the momentum would have changed.

James Outman defends Clayton Kershaw

Dodgers pitching nor their offense showed up in Game 1. And although it’s easy to put the blame on Kershaw, Outman did not want to pin the loss on the future Hall of Famer.

“He’s done so much for us and he’s got our back,” Outman said. “They just came out swinging and put some good swings on him, had some good at-bats.”

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