Kershaw falters again in playoffs, pushing Dodgers to brink

Full Screen
1 / 5

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw sits in the dugout after leaving the game during the sixth inning in Game 4 of a baseball National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

ARLINGTON, Texas – Clayton Kershaw made the slow trudge to that lonely spot in the dugout once again, this time just a few miles from his hometown.

The longtime ace of the Dodgers just can't shake his playoff curse, not even on friendly turf in a neutral-site NL Championship Series.

Kershaw faltered at the start of the sixth inning against Atlanta, allowing three straight hits before watching the rest of a six-run outburst in the Braves' 10-2 win in Game 4 on Thursday night.

Kershaw's franchise-high 12th postseason loss put Los Angeles down 3-1 in the best-of-seven series at the home of the Texas Rangers, on the brink of a second straight defeat in the NLCS after posting the best record in the majors during the pandemic-shortened season.

Pitching two days after he was scratched from a Game 2 start because of back spasms, Kershaw allowed four runs in five-plus innings, boosting his career playoff ERA to 4.31.

While the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner is also the club's career leader in postseason wins with his 11-12 record, his October resume simply doesn't match his stellar regular-season numbers: 175-76 with a 2.43 ERA.

In LA's seven trips to the NLCS over Kershaw's 13 seasons, the Dallas native is 3-6 with a 4.84 ERA. And now the left-hander has been outpitched by a rookie making his postseason debut: Atlanta's 22-year-old Game 4 winner, Bryse Wilson.

“I think that he came out and five innings, one run, again, what happened right there in that sixth inning, he gave us a chance to win the baseball game,” manager Dave Roberts said. “We couldn’t put any runs up early and get a lead, or hold a lead. That narrative couldn’t be further from the truth.”