This World Series is looking like a situation that will end with the baseball world emphatically shouting, Same old Dodgers.
The Dodgers were loaded again this season, running away with the NL West with an historic start, leading MLB in wins with 104 and having one of the greatest pitchers in history anchoring a formidable pitching staff that finished second in the majors with a 3.38 ERA.
This Dodgers franchise is no secret to success, having won seven of the last 10 NL West titles, only to fall short of the World Series every season until this one.
They have a strong mixture of veterans and hot prospects. And since assuming some ownership of the franchise, Magic Johnson and his band of big ballers and corporate titans have poured hundreds of millions into bringing a championship to Los Angeles.
This was supposed to be the year the Dodgers recaptured that World Series glory that’s been eluding the city since 1988. The year that everything that had backfired on them in past playoff failures – lack of timely hitting, being out-strategized, bullpen failures and the baffling playoff struggles of Clayton Kershaw — would right itself.
The October image Clayton Kershaw has spent years trying to erase was the one that defined his night again Sunday: https://t.co/4FYz4SqwAl
Drawing the young Houston Astros in the 2017 World Series seemed to give the Dodgers the advantage, but after losing Game 5 ,13-12 in 10 innings in a thriller on Sunday night and now facing elimination, it appears as if LA cant ever win the most crucial games, even when MLBs most celebrated hurler is on the mound.
Despite his unconquerable dominance in the regular season, Kershaw has a 7-7 career playoff record and has been unable to hold leads in games where the Dodgers needed him to be as great as he is when the games dont matter as much.
Chaos at MMP. #EarnHistory
Its safe to say at this point, with all the praise and accolades Kershaws received and the way he has impacted the Dodgers pitching rotation since that first 21-win season in 2011, the Dodgers go as he goes. And for some reason, he just dont go in crunch time.
Hes had some respectable outings in these playoffs, but last nights failures reflected the pattern of his postseason career. He wasn’t great. He wasn’t even good enough. Coming up short in career-defining playoff moments has become Kershaws M.O. That’s just keeping it a buck. All of the mental preparation and pregame visualizing of success didn’t change the outcome.
Clayton Kershaw, Visualizing Game 5/Walking From Mound (with baseball in hand, again). https://t.co/k8eabk2TtG
How else do you explain it?
Kershaw, a guy who has never made it to the World Series and has nothing else to prove as far as accomplishments go, was given a four-run lead early in a super crucial Game 5 and told to Do what you do.
It’s unfathomable considering when Kershaw gets a four-run lead, he has a career record (regular and postseason) of 100 wins and one loss. After cruising through the first three innings, the three-time Cy Young Award got into trouble in the fourth inning.
Things unraveled quickly and when Yuli Gurriel blasted a 398-foot homer to left field to tie the game, Dodgers fans were greeted to an all too familiar feeling of failure by their most potent weapon. Kershaw couldn’t even do it for the culture. A day after Gurriel was handed an early-season 2018 suspension for making slanted eyes gestures at Asian hurler Yu Darvish, Kershaw rewarded him with a whopper.
Yuli Gurriel hits a 3 run homer to tie it 4-4!! #WorldSeries https://t.co/CufUqnu7UV
Kershaw set the tone for the game to get out of control. After being spotted that lead, Im sure Dodgers manager Dave Roberts put a win in the books and had his mind looking forward to returning to Los Angeles to clinch.
I just lost my command there in the fourth inning and thats all it took, Kershaw said.
Really? Thats all it took to flush the Dodgers World Series dreams down the toilet?
Maaaaan. Kershaw needs to go head with that. Im starting to think that hes one of those rare superstars that just cant get over the championship hump. He cant dip deep down inside of him and pull out that something extra when his team needs a hero. And instead of helping, Kershaw has helped put the Dodgers in this 3-2 hole.
The Dodgers got him another 7-4 lead in the fifth, but after a mental breakdown in which he dished out a pair of two-out walks, Roberts hooked him after 94 pitches.
The perplexing playoff failures of the games best hurler continues.
If the Dodgers are going to win the World Series they will have to do it in spite of their ace, which makes the task of winning the next two games and staving off a hungry, aggressive and confident Houston squad, even more difficult.
One day, Kershaw will have his shining playoff moment. It just won’t be in 2017.