Kershaw pulled in 1st inning of ’embarrassing’ Game 1 loss to D-Backs

Kershaw pulled in 1st inning of 'embarrassing' Game 1 loss to D-Backs

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw failed to make it out of the first inning in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday.

Kershaw surrendered six runs on six hits while recording just one out in the disastrous outing.

“Just disappointing. Embarrassing,” Kershaw said postgame of the 11-2 loss. “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 was the Dodgers’ largest home playoff loss since moving to Los Angeles in 1958.

Arizona jumped all over Kershaw immediately when Ketel Marte ripped a leadoff double on the second pitch of the game before scoring on Corbin Carroll‘s single. Carroll touched home two batters later when Christian Walker doubled. Rookie catcher Gabriel Moreno then sent Dodger Stadium into a stunned silence with a 419-foot three-run homer.

SNAKES ARE RAKING 🔥

5 @Dbacks have stepped up to the plate so far, and all 5 have scored

(via @MLB) pic.twitter.com/aAAuQ52hQt

— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 8, 2023

After Lourdes Gurriel Jr. grounded out, Kershaw walked Alek Thomas and then allowed an RBI double to Evan Longoria on his 35th and final pitch of the night. All six hits off Kershaw were scorched at exit velocities of 99 mph or higher.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts summoned rookie Emmet Sheehan, who got out of the inning without further damage but allowed three runs in the next two innings.

It goes down as the shortest start of Kershaw’s career, including the regular season. The only other time he failed to pitch into the second inning was his start at Wrigley Field on May 4, 2021, when he gave up four runs in the first and didn’t return for the second.

Kershaw’s also just the fourth Dodgers starter to record one or fewer outs in a postseason game, according to Jayson Stark of The Athletic, and the first in MLB playoff history to allow five hits and five runs before recording an out, per ESPN Stats & Info.

MLB Postseason Starts w/ 0.1 IP or Less & 6+ Earned Runs Allowed, All-Time:

Clayton Kershaw, LAD – 2023 NLDS G1 vs Ari
Mike Foltynewicz, Atl – 2019 NLDS G5 vs StL
Gil Heredia, Oak – 2000 ALDS G5 vs NYY

— OptaSTATS (@OptaSTATS) October 8, 2023

This was only the fourth time that Kershaw allowed at least six earned runs in a playoff start, something he last did in Game 5 of the 2017 World Series. Saturday’s outing raised Kershaw’s lifetime postseason ERA to 4.49, a stark contrast from his brilliant 2.48 mark during the regular season.

Both Kershaw and Roberts said postgame that there were no physical issues that contributed to his performance. Roberts added that the team is still planning for the left-hander to start Game 4 (if it’s required) in Arizona on four days’ rest, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com.

Kershaw had another good year when healthy, posting a 2.46 ERA and 1.06 WHIP with 137 strikeouts in 24 regular-season starts. But the 35-year-old also missed time in the middle of the campaign with a shoulder injury, and while he pitched well down the stretch, he didn’t pitch more than 5.1 innings in any outing after returning from the IL.

Before the game, Roberts had said Kershaw would be limited to around 85 pitches Saturday.

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