Another tough lost and elimination in the postseason for the Los Angeles Dodgers, by the hands of -- yet again -- the St.Louis Cardinals.
I was really rooting for Clayton Kershaw in this game. Not only he looked as if he wasn't gonna give up a run to the Cardinals, he looked like he wasn't gonna give up a hit, either. He seemed to be in total control through 7 innings pitched.
Until that leadoff base hit from Matt Holliday in the 8th inning, things went south in an eye blink, for Kershaw.
Everyone and their grandmother had Kershaw having to win this game. And he almost did. But when you face a team that knows how to win, in the Cardinals, you can't keep beating them with the same punches. A team like that will begin to recognize how you're trying to beat them and will begin to make adjustments.
Which means: Kershaw tried to beat the Cardinals with the strikeout, instead of getting them out.
Once Holliday got that hit in the bottom 8th, Kershaw should've immediately changed his game plan. I know, I know, it was working throughout the entire game -- 'why change it at the 8th' right? But didn't he learn from game one when the Cardinals began to torch after they batted around...
When Matt Adams came up with two runners on and none out, he should've made the adjustment there. Instead of trying to throw pretty curveballs for called strikes, try to get Adams to ground into a double play. Kershaw was too comfortable with his curve, against a power hitting left hander like Adams. He's got a great curveball, but if it's not sharpened correctly in the right spot, it's gonna hit hard.
Kershaw threw an *0-1 curveball, right in Adams' wheelhouse. He wasn't cautious at all with that curve. He already had strike one to Adams, now go away from him. Throw that slider away or a two-seam fastball inside, and maybe Adams grounds into a double play.
Kershaw has got to learn how to get outs, in those spots. He relies too much on the strikeout.
As a New York Yankee fan, I find it's the same problem with closer David Robertson. He relies too much on the strikeout and not the out -- getting the pop-up or groundball out.
That's what Kershaw has to learn how to do. In playoffs, the homerun and strikeout, is about the same. The hitter who tends to fail in postseason, tries to do too much and hit a homerun in the big spot.
As for the pitcher, like Kershaw, who tries to make the perfect pitch in those big spots against hitters in the postseason, like the Cardinals, they know what to do with those types of pitchers -- or pitches.