Clayton Kershaw’s dominant playoff run helps to bolster his legacy


Going through his signature wind-up, pitcher Clayton Kershaw gets ready to deliver a pitch. Kershaw was finally able to win his first championship after a long history of postseason disappointment during his time with the Dodgers.

John Robbins, Staff Reporter

For the first time in over thirty years, the Los Angeles Dodgers, led by pitching great Clayton Kershaw, had the chance to celebrate winning a World Series title. Kershaw is considered the best pitcher of the last decade, posting a 149-53 record and an earned run average (ERA) of 2.24. His dominance during the regular season resulted in top-five finishes for the National League Cy Young award during a remarkable run from 2011-2017. These career accomplishments likely already made him a lock to be a future Hall-of-Famer. However, with the coveted championship title finally in his grasp, he can rest easy knowing he will be featured in Cooperstown one day. Kershaw had historically underperformed in the postseason and was frequently chastised by the media for it. His career record in the playoffs up until this year featured a losing record and the second-highest ERA for elimination games in MLB history. However, the Dodgers often found bad luck towards the end of the season, due to injuries, hitting slumps, or outright cheating by the other team (the Astros in 2017). With a high-powered offense featuring sluggers Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger, the Dodgers were finally able to cross the finish line. Kershaw himself put together a nice string of performances in Games 1 and 5 of the World Series respectively.
While Kershaw did not want to talk about what winning the title meant to him specifically, it had to feel like a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders last month. His main rival as the “best pitcher in baseball,” Max Scherzer, had already won a title last year as the ace for the Washington Nationals. Always a team player, Kershaw is not one to brag much or try to outshine his teammates in postgame interviews. Following this season, he mentioned being thankful to be known as a champion and to do something he loves every day for a living. He finally won his championship and is no longer defined by the postseason struggles that marred his prime playing days. While Kershaw is still elite, he may never get back to his prime where he was in the running for the MVP award every season.
However, that does not mean his team will be out of the running anytime soon. With the aforementioned high-powered offense, stellar defense across the starting lineup, and a front office willing to spend whatever it takes to field a contender, the Dodgers are set up well for success. Do not be surprised if they are able to go on a run, win multiple titles in a row, and become the first dynasty since the Yankees teams in the late 1990s. Junior Sean Bryant weighed in on the pitcher: “Never been a huge baseball fan, but if I happen to catch a game with Kershaw pitching, he’s been lights out every time.” Whatever the team does now, Kershaw will still be the leader of the organization and the person people think of first on the Los Angeles Dodgers.