Clayton Kershaw had never won a postseason game before Thursday night. And his 5.87 postseason ERA was more than triple his ERA from his immaculate 2013 season. That was an itty-bitty 1.83.
Neither of those Kershaw postseason factoids are meant to shame the Dodgers ace. Moreso, it's a reflection of what he's become. His last postseason start came in 2009, when he was a young pitcher full of potential. He's still young now — only 25, how scary is that? — but his 2013 lessened any doubt that he's the best pitcher in baseball.
Thursday night he went and notched that first postseason win, decisively mowing down the Atlanta Braves as the Dodgers won Game 1 of the NLDS 6-1. Kershaw didn't even have his best stuff. He curve wasn't as sharp as it could have been early in the game. He wasn't commanding pitches as well as he can. His pitch-count was inflated. But Kershaw is so good that he still struck out 12 and gave up only three hits. All 12 Ks are in the video above.
Those 12 Ks, according to ESPN, are the most for a Dodgers pitcher in the Game 1 of a postseason series since Sandy Koufax in 1963. One strikeout in particular that people are drooling over is this one below, where Kershaw's curve completely duped B.J. Upton. Not fair.