Clayton Kershaw’s postseason legacy took another hit in World Series Game 5.
Staked to an early four-run lead, the Dodgers ace was unable to hold things down. The Astros pulled even with a four-run fourth inning, before chasing him one inning later.
Making matters worse if you’re solely focused on Kershaw’s performance, the Astros’ fourth-inning rally was capped by a three-run home run from Yuli Gurriel. That’s the eighth home run Kershaw has allowed during the 2017 postseason, which catapulted him to the top of the leaderboard for home runs allowed in a single postseason.
Most HR allowed in a single postseason
8 Kershaw 2017
7 Pettitte 1996
7 Hamels 2009
7 Garrelts 1989
7 Show 1984
7 Beckett 2008
— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) October 30, 2017
Home runs weren’t typically an issue for Kershaw. At least until this season. In 2015 and 2016, he allowed 23 combined home runs over 381.2 innings. During the 2017 regular season, he allowed 23 in 175 innings. Coming into this year, he allowed 10 homers in 18 postseason games. Not terrible considering the narrative that’s followed him, but his home runs allowed have definitely spiked relative to previous seasons.
Perhaps the October binge can be partially attributed to what pitchers say is a slicker-feeling baseball that’s being used. The baseball’s slick surface is impacting the grip and pitchers’ ability to throw their slider with the same effectiveness. Worth noting, the home run pitch to Gurriel was recorded as a slider.
Whatever the case, Kershaw has allowed at least one homer in each of his five postseason outings. Four of those came in his Game 1 start against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLDS.
Those home runs had yet to cost L.A. until Game 5. They’d gone 4-0 in Kershaw’s starts this postseason before this. But Kershaw’s implosion was the first chapter in a wild game that the Astors would eventually win 12-11 in extra innings.
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