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Can Kershaw carry '20 success into playoffs?

@kengurnick
September 30, 2020

Has Clayton Kershaw reinvented himself for the postseason as well? The combination of improved health and last winter’s overhaul that included a visit to Driveline Baseball resulted in increased velocity and sharper stuff. His ERA was reduced by nearly a full run from 2019, he allowed one fewer hit per

Has Clayton Kershaw reinvented himself for the postseason as well?

The combination of improved health and last winter’s overhaul that included a visit to Driveline Baseball resulted in increased velocity and sharper stuff. His ERA was reduced by nearly a full run from 2019, he allowed one fewer hit per nine innings and nearly one fewer walk.

But Kershaw’s Hall of Fame resume is blemished by disappointments of postseasons past. So, on the eve of his Game 2 start in the National League Wild Card Series on Thursday, is that about to change?

Game Date Matchup TV
Gm 1 Sept. 30 LAD 4, MIL 2 Watch
Gm 2 Oct. 1 LAD 3, MIL 0 Watch

“I’m hopeful that some of the things that I’ve done, because I’ve been sort of beat up in the past, has prepared me to kind of maintain what I’ve got going right now. We’ll see,” said Kershaw.

“Every offseason there are things to tinker with and figure out. As far as the right combo for trying to find things to do in the weight room or training room, whether it be weighted balls or whatever, there’s been a lot of different things that contributed to it. I’m hopeful, and pretty confident, that it will stay for a while, so that’s good.”

Brewers-Dodgers position-by-position analysis

Kershaw has a .697 win percentage and 2.43 career ERA in the regular season, but a corresponding .450 and 4.43 ERA in the postseason, while allowing home runs at twice the clip in the postseason as he has in the regular season.

Asked what he would have advised a rookie Kershaw about the postseason from the knowledge he’s gained living it, he said:

“I think experience is helpful. You kind of learn from past success and past failure about preparation and things like that. As far as advice, just trying to trust what you’ve done to be there. Maybe at the very early on, you might not trust necessarily the work you’ve put in or the success you’ve had before. You maybe lose some faith or confidence in what you’ve done. Just try to remember that the process and routine that got you here is good enough to get people out in the regular season or postseason.”

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.