I would recap Game 3 but it’s the same story different chapter, starting pitcher does his job but bullpen blows the game. Nothing new or unexpected there. The Dodgers now trail the series 2-1.
Now to the real story. The Dodgers backs are up against the wall and now they turn to Clayton Kershaw to keep the Dodgers playoff dream alive. It’s fitting that Kershaw will take the mound on Tuesday with the season on line as he is the team’s best pitcher. If their was ever a time for Kershaw to have a breakthrough playoff performance it will be in Game 4 of the NLDS. Kershaw doesn’t need to be good, he needs to be GREAT. Kershaw needs to pitch like the CY Young that he is. And seeing that the bullpen can’t be trusted, Kershaw also needs to go deep into the game. If you were to tell Don Mattingly and Dodgers fans that in a elimination game they will have Kershaw taking the mound they would take their chances.
The only thing is Kershaw has yet to be Kershaw in the playoffs especially against the St. Louis Cardinals. Kershaw is 0-3 versus the Cardinals allowing 7 or more runs in two of those games. Kershaw’s ERA in the NLDS this year is 10.80 after a debacle in the 7th inning in Game 1. Kershaw needs this game. He should want the ball like never before. Legacies are made in October. Kershaw shall look for redemption. A win to stave off elimination will do that for Kershaw. All eyes will be on number 22 and he shouldn’t want it any other way. The weight of a city, of a team shall rest on the left arm of one Clayton Kershaw. Winners want the ball in their hands when the game is on the line. In this case the season is on the line in Game 4.
Now Kershaw needs to pitch a gem but that’s just half the battle. The Dodgers hitters need to give him some support. Puig can’t strikeout every time he heads to the plate. If Puig can make a some noise with his bat he will energize the the Dodgers. The Dodgers need Carl Crawford and Juan Uribe need to step up as well. The Dodgers need to cash in with runners in scoring position. They can not afford to strand runners on base not in a elimination game. Every hit, every walk, every run will be crucial.
The game plan for the Dodgers is simple: Clayton Kershaw dominates and they score more runs than the Cardinals to send this series back to Los Angeles. If this happens then I really love the Dodgers chances to advance to the NLCS. For the Dodgers will have Zach Greinke waiting in Game 5 and I trust Zach Greinke. But first they have to win Game 4 to get the ball into the hands of Zach Greinke and there is no one more qualified to do that then Clayton Kershaw. I still believe in the Dodgers! I believe they will comeback and win this series. The Dodgers have to adopt the old mantra of the late Al Davis who use to say “Just win baby.”