Clayton Kershaw added another chapter to a dismal postseason resume Friday night, but the Washington Nationals appear to have cracked a code to give themselves an advantage.
Whenever he’s done pitching, Clayton Kershaw’s three Cy Young Awards and a regular season win percentage that’s currently just shy of 70 percent will get him plenty of Hall of Fame consideration. But his postseason resume is lacking, and he added another chapter in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Washington Nationals.
Kershaw went six innings on Friday night, allowing three runs on six hits with four strikeouts and one walk. He took the 11th postseason loss of his career, as Stephen Strasburg out-pitched him, and Kershaw now has a 4.33 career ERA in the playoffs (2.44 career ERA during the regular season.
Kershaw’s postseason struggles can be chalked up to any number of things, or things in combination that leads to him falling short when it matters the most. Pointing directly to Friday night’s outing, he was definitely allowing harder contact then he had during the regular season over at least the first half of his outing.
During the top of the sixth inning Friday night, during outfielder Victor Robles’ at-bat, the TBS broadcast captured shortstop Trea Turner and outfielder Adam Eaton in the Nationals’ dugout. Turner was clearly demonstrating some kind of pitch-tipping indicators he was seeing from Kershaw.
For further confirmation, former major league pitcher Dallas Braden tweeted a brief video commentary of the same television clip with a caption “Pitch tipping 101 goin’ down in the dugout.”
Right after that clip with Turner and Eaton, Robles took a Kershaw pitch off the wall. That may have been coincidental. But if Turner saw something in the way Kershaw was gripping the ball or showing his wrist more specifically, he surely passed it on to more than one teammate.
Kershaw is hardly the first pitcher to potentially tip what he’s throwing. Good hitters pick up on those subtleties, via video study and subsequent confirmation in game action, and exploit them. The Dodgers’ coaching staff has probably picked up on what Turner saw, and already passed it on to Kershaw to correct before he pitches again.