Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Clayton Kershaw chased in 1st inning as Dodgers lose NLDS opener to Diamondbacks

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  • Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, left, and coach Bob Geren look...

    Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, left, and coach Bob Geren look on from the dugout after the Arizona Diamondbacks scored six runs during the first inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws to the plate during...

    Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws to the plate during the first inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers center fielder James Outman can’t hold on to a...

    Dodgers center fielder James Outman can’t hold on to a double hit by the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Ketel Madre (not pictured) during the first inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers center fielder James Outman can’t hold on to a...

    Dodgers center fielder James Outman can’t hold on to a double hit by the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Ketel Madre (not pictured) during the first inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw reacts after giving up a...

    Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw reacts after giving up a run to the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. Kershaw allowed six runs in one-third of an inning before being removed and the Dodgers went on to lose, 11-2. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws to the plate during...

    Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws to the plate during the first inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Gabriel Moreno, left, points to the sky...

    The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Gabriel Moreno, left, points to the sky after he hit a three-run home run off of Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw during the first inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw slumps after giving up a...

    Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw slumps after giving up a three-run home run to the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Gabriel Moreno (not pictured) during the first inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw wipes his face after giving...

    Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw wipes his face after giving up a three-run home run to the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Gabriel Moreno (not pictured) during the first inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Gabriel Moreno (14) celebrates with teammates after...

    The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Gabriel Moreno (14) celebrates with teammates after he hit a three-run home run during the first inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Dodgers on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Gabriel Moreno celebrates in the dugout after...

    The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Gabriel Moreno celebrates in the dugout after he hit a three-run home run during the first inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Dodgers on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw reacts after giving up a...

    Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw reacts after giving up a three-run home run to the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Gabriel Moreno during the first inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. Kershaw allowed six runs in one-third of an inning before being removed and the Dodgers went on to lose, 11-2. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw flips a baseball after giving...

    Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw flips a baseball after giving up a three-run home run to the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Gabriel Moreno (not pictured) during the first inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Evan Longoria hits an RBI double off...

    The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Evan Longoria hits an RBI double off of Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw during the first inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Evan Longoria, top left, hits an RBI...

    The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Evan Longoria, top left, hits an RBI double off of Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw during the first inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Christian Thomas scores on a double by...

    The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Christian Thomas scores on a double by Evan Longoria (not pictured) during the first inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Dodgers on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Christian Thomas scores past Dodgers catcher Will...

    The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Christian Thomas scores past Dodgers catcher Will Smith on a double by Evan Longoria (not pictured) during the first inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Christian Thomas scores past Dodgers catcher Will...

    The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Christian Thomas scores past Dodgers catcher Will Smith, far left, on a double by Evan Longoria (not pictured) as Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw fields a late throw home during the first inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw wipes his face after giving...

    Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw wipes his face after giving up an RBI double to the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Evan Longoria (not pictured) during the first inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers manager Dave Roberts walks to the mound to remove...

    Dodgers manager Dave Roberts walks to the mound to remove starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw, right, during the first inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. Kershaw was battered for six runs while getting just one out before being replaced. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers manager Dave Roberts removes starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw, left,...

    Dodgers manager Dave Roberts removes starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw, left, after he gave up six runs during the first inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw walks to the dugout after...

    Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw walks to the dugout after being replaced after giving up six runs during the first inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers relief pitcher Emmet Sheehan throws to the plate during...

    Dodgers relief pitcher Emmet Sheehan throws to the plate during the first inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Corbin Carroll smiles toward his dugout after...

    The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Corbin Carroll smiles toward his dugout after hitting a solo home run during the second inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Dodgers on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers relief pitcher Emmet Sheehan reacts after giving up a...

    Dodgers relief pitcher Emmet Sheehan reacts after giving up a solo home run to the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Corbin Carroll during the second inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Max Muncy holds his bat after lining out...

    The Dodgers’ Max Muncy holds his bat after lining out to end the third inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Max Muncy holds his bat after lining out...

    The Dodgers’ Max Muncy holds his bat after lining out to end the third inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers relief pitcher Shelby Miller throws to the plate during...

    Dodgers relief pitcher Shelby Miller throws to the plate during the sixth inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers third baseman Max Muncy throws late as the Arizona...

    Dodgers third baseman Max Muncy throws late as the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Gabriel Moreno (not pictured) is safe at first base during the sixth inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Lourdes Gurriel Jr. looks on from the...

    The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Lourdes Gurriel Jr. looks on from the dugout railing prior to Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Dodgers on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Merrill Kelly throws to the plate...

    Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Merrill Kelly throws to the plate during the sixth inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Dodgers on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers relief pitcher Michael Grove throws to the plate during...

    Dodgers relief pitcher Michael Grove throws to the plate during the seventh inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Alek Thomas celebrates in the dugout after...

    The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Alek Thomas celebrates in the dugout after hitting a solo home run during the seventh inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Dodgers on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Merrill Kelly is congratulated in the...

    Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Merrill Kelly is congratulated in the dugout after coming out of the game during the seventh inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Dodgers on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. Kelly pitched 6-1/3 shutout innings. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers relief pitcher Alex Vesia throws to the plate during...

    Dodgers relief pitcher Alex Vesia throws to the plate during the eighth inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Corbin Carroll, left, hits a line drive...

    The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Corbin Carroll, left, hits a line drive out against Dodgers relief pitcher Alex Vesia during the eighth inning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, left, along with stars Mookie Betts,...

    Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, left, along with stars Mookie Betts, center, and Freddie Freeman stand together for the national anthem prior to Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Keith Williams sings the national anthem prior to Game 1...

    Keith Williams sings the national anthem prior to Game 1 of the National League Division Series between the Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers pitcher Bobby Miller stands for the national anthem prior...

    Dodgers pitcher Bobby Miller stands for the national anthem prior to Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Former Dodgers All-Star Eric Karros throws out a ceremonial first...

    Former Dodgers All-Star Eric Karros throws out a ceremonial first pitch prior to Game 1 of their National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

LOS ANGELES — Hall of Fame careers do not always end heroically.

Willie Mays stumbled in the outfield while playing for the New York Mets during the 1973 World Series and it has become the archetype – exaggerated though it has been over the years – of the great player who stayed longer than his skills.

Clayton Kershaw has not said this is his last season. He defied a shoulder injury that limited him over the final two months of the regular season and robbed him of velocity to earn his 32nd postseason start.

If it is his farewell, though, the Dodgers’ 11-2 loss in Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Saturday night was Kershaw’s embarrassing stumble.

He faced just eight batters. The first six all reached base and scored. He retired just one batter before Dodgers manager Dave Roberts mercifully pulled him from the game.

“Just disappointing. Embarrassing,” Kershaw said after the game. “You just feel like you let everybody down, guys in the whole organization that look to you to pitch well in Game 1. It’s just embarrassing, really. I just feel like I let everybody down.

“It’s a tough way to start the postseason. Obviously, we still have a chance at this thing. But that was – yeah, that wasn’t the way it should’ve started for me.”

Whether that is the way it will end remains to be seen.

Kershaw sat alone on the bench, his head down, as Emmet Sheehan got out of the inning then walked the length of the dugout and disappeared down the tunnel leading to the clubhouse, his teammates politely looking away.

Whether Kershaw emerges to pitch again for the Dodgers – this postseason or next year – is questionable. It is almost easier to imagine the Dodgers placing him on the injured list with his unspecified shoulder malady (thus making him ineligible if the Dodgers rebound to reach the NL Championship Series) than it is to picture them sending Kershaw back to the mound for a Game 4 or 5 and risking more of this in a potential elimination game.

But Kershaw insisted that he feels “fine” – the same way he has brushed off questions about his shoulder since returning from the IL.

“There’s nothing health-related here,” he said. “Just bad pitching.”

Roberts acknowledged Kershaw’s performance was “shocking” but said the Dodgers’ pitching plans for the rest of the series will not change as a result.

“No, no, it doesn’t,” Roberts said. “He’s going to pitch Game 4.”

Ketel Marte started Saturday’s beating with a rocket into the left-center field gap. James Outman got there but overran the ball, reached back and had it go off his glove for a double (which could have been scored an error).

“I think my nerves kind of got the best of me. I was just a little tight that first inning and I didn’t set the tone very well for us,” said Outman, one of five rookies on the Dodgers’ NLDS roster.

“It kind of just hit the heel of my glove. It got on me a little quicker than I wanted to and I just couldn’t come up with it.”

Corbin Carroll drove Marte in with an RBI single. In quick order, Tommy Pham singled, Christian Walker doubled off the bullpen gate in left field and Gabriel Moreno launched a 419-foot drive into the night for a three-run home run (the first of four Diamondbacks homers in the game).

The five hits had exit velocities of 115.7, 109.6, 99.4, 105.7 and 110.8 mph on the home run. Anything 95 mph or higher is considered a ‘hard-hit’ ball by Statcast measures. Kershaw gave up another one (96.7 mph) but got an out on the ground ball to Miguel Rojas. A walk and another double followed before Roberts could get to the mound.

“We just missed in the zone,” Dodgers catcher Will Smith said. “When they’re aggressive and you’re missing in spots they hit the ball, it’s usually not the right recipe.”

It was the first time in Kershaw’s career that he allowed more than five ‘hard-hit’ balls in any inning. The Diamondbacks showed no fear, swinging at 24 of the 25 strikes Kershaw managed in his 35-pitch night and averaging 105.2 mph in exit velocity when they put it in play.

“I think that most teams typically swing early against me. I try to get ahead of guys,” Kershaw said of the Diamondbacks’ aggressiveness. “Obviously I didn’t make some great pitches and then sometimes I thought I did make some good ones and they hit them, too. I don’t know what else to say. It’s just tough.

“I think most teams typically swing early against me. I try to get ahead of guys. Obviously, I didn’t make some great pitches and then sometimes I thought I did make some good ones and they hit them, too. I don’t know what else to say. It’s just tough.

“Didn’t feel great. Yeah, didn’t feel great.”

To the litany of Kershaw’s October miseries include these new additions.

He is the first pitcher in postseason history to allow five runs and five hits before recording an out, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

And he is the third starting pitcher in postseason history to record one out or none while allowing six earned runs or more, joining Mike Foltynewicz of the Braves (against the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2019 NLDS) and Gil Heredia of the Oakland A’s (against the New York Yankees in the 2000 ALDS), according to OptaStats.

The Diamondbacks continued against Emmet Sheehan, the rookie called in to stop the bleeding. He gave up a home run to Carroll in the second inning and two more runs before the Diamondbacks tired of ripping extra-base hits, at least for a while.

While Kershaw making painful history, Diamondbacks starter Merrill Kelly reversed some personal history.

Kelly came into the game 0-11 with a 5.49 ERA in 16 career starts against the Dodgers. According to OptaStats that is the most career losses without a win against a single opponent when starting a playoff game against them.

Making the first postseason appearance of his career, Kelly breezed through the shell-shocked Dodgers. He allowed just three hits over 6⅓ innings, taking a shutout into the seventh before handing the big lead over to the bullpen.

“Honestly, at that minute I’m just trying to enjoy it,” Kelly said of being staked to a 6-0 lead before he ever took the mound. “I’m watching our guys beat up on one of the best pitchers that we’ve ever seen in our lives. And watching them do it in the first game I’ve ever pitched in the playoffs.”

The Diamondbacks hit seven balls with exit velocities above 95 mph in the first inning – the Dodgers had five total off Kelly. Three of those went for outs.

“I don’t think anybody in the baseball world was expecting that,” Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman said of Kershaw’s start. “But the next time Clayton Kershaw is on that mound we’ll be just as confident again. Hopefully, we can get him back on that mound.”

“I just feel like I let everyone down… that’s wasn’t the way it should have started for me.” Clayton Kershaw on his performance tonight against the D-backs. pic.twitter.com/ZKlb26cRWy

— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) October 8, 2023

Five @Dbacks have come to the plate tonight.

Five @Dbacks have scored. 🐍 pic.twitter.com/0mCmRRdXtO

— MLB (@MLB) October 8, 2023

Dave Roberts discusses Kershaw’s outing and adds that there wasn’t anything physically wrong with him and the plan remains for Kershaw to start Game 4. pic.twitter.com/fhCJrWRxgr

— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) October 8, 2023

Evan Longoria celebrates his 38th birthday in style. 🎉

His RBI double makes it 6-0 @Dbacks in the 1st inning! #Postseason pic.twitter.com/DiEaIKGzdk

— MLB (@MLB) October 8, 2023

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