Dodgers Give Ball to Clayton Kershaw in NLDS Game 2


One day after defeating the Nationals in the 2019 NLDS opener, the Dodgers will send veteran Clayton Kershaw to the hill with hopes of arriving in Washington this weekend with a 2-0 series lead.

Los Angeles management did not announce Kershaw’s start until Thursday, seemingly taking every angle of strategy into consideration before their final decision. Many analysts believed the Dodgers would turn to Hyun-Jin Ryu for the second game at home, where the lefty’s splits were significant. At home, Ryu tallied a 10-1 record with a 1.93 ERA and a 0.943 WHIP with a 9.1 K/9. On the road, he posted a 4-4 record with a 2.72 ERA and a 1.075 WHIP alongside a 7.0 K/9.

Nevertheless, Ryu has made two career starts at Nationals Park and has only surrendered one earned run over 11-1/3 innings pitched. Another factor that may have played in the club’s decision to throw Kershaw in Game 2 is that the earlier start allows him to appear as a reliever in the later games, if needed.

Despite all that, Kersh will certainly have his work cut out for him, as Washington hit left-handed pitchers much better—an overall .828 OBP—than they did right-handers (.785) during the regular season.

Kershaw faced the Nationals once this year on the road, when his squad cruised to a 9-3 victory on July 27. CK threw six full innings, surrendering two earned runs on three hits and three walks while striking out nine. That particular contest was also the game when catcher Will Smith—not long after being promoted from Triple-A Oklahoma City—went 3-for-3 with two doubles, a homer and six RBI against Washington’s pitching trio of Matt Grace, Joe Ross and Javy Guerra.

Over his 12-year big league career, Kershaw has made 16 starts against the Nationals, posting a 12-3 record with a 2.23 ERA with 126 strikeouts over an even 109 innings.

With players like Joc Pederson and Gavin Lux back in the lineup, fans could presume that a show of offensive fireworks would be on-hand in Friday’s Game 2. However, the Nats are retaliating with a bit of their own firepower in righty Stephen Strasburg.

The good news is that Strasburg has a career 3-5 record against the Dodgers in 11 career starts. The bad news is that over four career playoff appearances—three pof which were starts—Strasburg has a stellar 0.41 ERA over 22 innings with 28 strikeouts.

The last time Strasburg pitched against the Dodgers was on May 12 in Los Angeles. He suffered the loss after surrendering two earned runs on four hits and two walks while striking out seven. Conversely, Ryu picked up the win that day after throwing eight full scoreless innings of one-hit ball.

First pitch for Friday night’s Game 2 is scheduled for 6:37 PM Los Angeles time.


14 thoughts on “Dodgers Give Ball to Clayton Kershaw in NLDS Game 2

  1. We need CK to be at his best. Strasburg is going to be a tough customer. Best thing bout this match up is that our lefty power will all be in the line up tonight. Belli needs to get some wood on the ball. Muncy has started well and that is a great thing for the team. Turner looked a little out of sync, but he is a pro.

  2. Lineup posted: Pollock third, Smith 6th, Seager 7th, Lux 8th. Against a tough right hander. I’m sure you can explain this very strange strategy Bear. Please enlighten me.

    1. Not sure Jefe. Maybe they like Seager’s power lower in the lineup. And Smith might see better pitches with Corey hitting behind him.

      1. Apparently Pollock has hit Strasburg well in the past so I guess that explains his position in the order. Gonna be a tough one tonight in any case but we can certainly win this one if everything falls into place.

  3. Strasburg threw 34 pitches on Tuesday, I think that is very relevant, maybe he can only go 5 innings tonight, get into the nats bullpen as early as possible, hopefully.

  4. Just saw a stat that tells us why Kershaw is starting at home tonight. The last 6 postseason games at home his ERA is under 2. His last 6 postseason games on the road it’s over 7.

    Same strategy at the plate tonight. Work the count, don’t swing at balls, get to the bullpen.

    1. He’s already got us flailing away at the unhittable breaking balls. ‘Twill be a long night if we keep that crap up

      1. Nope. After 2, Kershaw 44 pitches, Strasburg 23. All 3 of our strikeouts were on pitches out of the strike zone. Could be a long night if we don’t make Strasburg work for it.

  5. Where do you go
    With Kersh from here? Sad to see! He has absolutely no command of his fastball and center cut 90 mph fastballs get hammered!

    1. Won’t matter tonight if we don’t solve Strasburg. Going forward? Good question. You keep throwing him out there and hope for the best.

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