4. Kershaw Saves a Series – 2016 NLDS
Right or wrong until Clayton Kershaw puts on an October for the ages his playoff history will be criticized. Despite being the best pitcher in baseball a lack of a World Series ring on his resume will keep his critics talking, but that doesn’t mean Kershaw hasn’t shown his best when it comes to October.
Last year against the Washington Nationals Kershaw pitched 6.2 innings on three days rest in game 4 to keep the Dodgers’ season alive, tying the series 2-2. Logically in a winner take all game five the Dodgers would not be able to use the best pitcher on the planet.
With a slim 4-3 lead and Kenley Jansen trying to protect the win having pitched 2.1 innings, Jansen was on fumes having walked two batters with one out. Having sent Kershaw to the bullpen after just one day of rest, Manager Dave Roberts risked everything by summoning his ace to save the game and close out the series.
With the tying and winning runs on base Kershaw faced the left-handed hitter Daniel Murphy who was the NL batting average leader and had hit a home run of Kershaw in the 2015 NLDS while with the New York Mets. Kershaw challenged Murphy with a fastball and won inducing an easy infield pop-up for the second out. Kershaw easily struck out the next batter Wilmer Difo to close out the series and at least for one night proving his critics wrong.