LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw had the worst outing of his major league career in Game 1 of the NLDS, but after three months of dealing with a left shoulder injury both he and the Dodgers insist that there is nothing physically wrong with the left-hander.
Kershaw allowed six hits, including a home run and three doubles, plus a walk in his eight batters faced, with six runs charged to his ledger. He was pulled with just one out in the first inning, the shortest start in his 16-year career.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts called the beginning of the game “shocking,” down 6-0 before the team had a chance to bat.
“Balls were up, and good pitches for [the Diamondbacks] to hit. They didn’t miss them,” Roberts said. “Usually Clayton does a great job of controlling, managing damage, and tonight unfortunately we didn’t do that.”
Kershaw’s six runs allowed are tied for the most ever by a Dodgers pitcher in a postseason appearance of one inning or less.
“Disappointing, embarrassing. You just feel like you let everybody down — guys, the whole organization who looked to you to pitch well in Game 1,” Kershaw said. “I just feel like I let everybody down. It’s a tough way to start the postseason.”
Kershaw’s six runs matched right-hander Chuck Churn, who recorded two outs in the third inning in relief in Game 1 of the 1959 World Series. The Dodgers lost that game 11-0 to the White Sox but won the next three en route to winning the club’s first championship in Los Angeles.
The Dodgers are hoping for a similar turnaround in this series against the Diamondbacks, but they face an uphill battle. If there is a Game 4, the Dodgers still plan to start Kershaw.
Roberts said there was nothing physically wrong with the left-hander on Saturday.
“You didn’t get too much of a look at him, but the stuff was good,” Roberts said of Kershaw in Game 1. “There were just some mistakes that they capitalized on.”
Other than that Mrs. Lincoln. how was the play?
“I didn’t make enough good pitches. There’s nothing health-related here,” Kershaw said. “Just bad pitching.”
Asked if he would be ready to pitch in Game 4 on four days rest, something Kershaw hasn’t done since May 21, the left-hander said, “Yeah. I’ll be ready.”