Three-time Cy Young Award-winner Clayton Kershaw said a chaotic year punctuated by a protracted postseason will do little to diminish the luster of a World Series crown, should his Los Angeles Dodgers come out on top against the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2020 Fall Classic.
The eight-time All-Star kicked off the Dodgers’ efforts in the best-of-seven series as the starting pitcher in Game 1 on Tuesday, capping a season that once appeared in doubt due to the COVID-19 pandemic and enduring amid a super-sized, 16-team playoff field.
“You know, the postseason’s been in some aspects a little harder with the extra round and things like that, it’s been a little bit more of a crapshoot with 16 teams making the postseason,” the 32-year-old lefty said. “It’s been a tough go, facing different teams in different bubbles and different things like that. So to be able to win a World Series after all this would be just as special as any other one, for sure.”
Kershaw, who has spent his entire 13-season career in Los Angeles, has twice seen World Series glory slip through his fingers, with the Dodgers losing to the Boston Red Sox in 2018 and the Houston Astros in 2017.
The 2017 loss has almost certainly stung more in the wake of the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, and the Dodgers were denied a chance at revenge after the Rays ended Houston’s run in a seven-game ALCS saga.
But Kershaw said that the team was focused firmly on the future.
“Twenty-seventeen is over, we can’t go back and worry about that,” he said. “All to say, this World Series against the Rays is what we’re prepared for now.”
This World Series provided another chance for Kershaw to re-cement his legacy as one of this generation’s top pitchers. However, the largest blemish on a career that will surely end up in Cooperstown is his postseason performances.
Entering Game 1, Kershaw was 11-12 with a 4.31 ERA in 35 career playoff appearances — a far cry from his career marks of 175-76 with a 2.43 ERA.