The popular song wafted across
"Tonight — we are young — so let's set the world on fire — we can burn brighter — than the sun."
It was all about
And it did, with a 2-1 victory, his eighth in his last eight starts, a win that filled Chavez Ravine with the Kobe Bryant-style chants of "M-V-P … M-V-P!"
The streak? Oh, that little thing? Kershaw's flirtation with history was history in the sixth inning. It ended when
It was a sudden and startling loss of legacy. Yet it mattered for only a moment. During that moment, Kershaw stood off the mound staring at the left-field bleachers in disgust. Slowly, all around him, fans began standing and cheering in acknowledging a 41-inning streak that, while 18 innings short of Orel Hershiser's record, is still the fifth-longest in baseball's expansion era.
And just like that, the pity party was over. Kershaw took a deep breath and struck out
The scoreless streak was over, but the success streak remained intact, and nothing else mattered. Kershaw slapped his fist into his glove and hugged his teammates. The fans roared and began their chant. The Dodgers were in first place, Kershaw was still the best pitcher in baseball, and a message had been clearly sent.
A night that will be remembered for the end of one chase should be celebrated for the continuation of a more important one.
Kershaw is not about the records, he is about the winning. He is about shouldering the ache of a fan base that has gone 25 years without a championship. He is about redemption for seven runs he allowed on that chilly October night in St. Louis last season when his team was two wins from the
He has three earned-run average titles, two
"It's good to get that win," Kershaw said afterward. "It's a close game ... it's a good win."
He was asked continuously about the homer and the end of the streak. He continuously repeated that it really didn't matter.
"I was disappointed I gave up the homer, I don't really care about an inning streak or whatever," Kershaw said. "Our job is not to give up runs. I don't really care about the streak."
He knows he doesn't need to be Bulldog. In some ways, there will never be another Bulldog. Did you know that Hershiser's scoreless streak in 1988 consisted of seven consecutive games during which he pitched at least nine innings in each game? That's right, he threw six complete games and then he lasted 10 innings in the record-breaking game that ended in the 16th inning.
As Thursday night once again showed, Hershiser's record is quietly one of the most awe-inspiring feats in baseball history and, seriously, if a powerful 26-year-old Kershaw can't even come closer than two games of equaling it during his best season, who ever will?
"I was truly sad to see that ball go over the fence, I was really hoping he would throw 140 consecutive scoreless," said Hershiser immediately after the game-tying homer, which he watched from the SportsNet LA studios. "He's an amazing pitcher, and I would have loved to see it happen for him."
Hershiser paused. "But now we have to win the game," he said.
That's how Kershaw thinks. That's how Kershaw plays. He know he doesn't need to be a Bulldog, he just needs to be Kersh, the big Texan with the strength to push this high-priced, pressure-filled team deep into October.
Push them past any lost streak. Push them past the memory of Chase Headley. Push them into some
"He has a good feel that one game is not going to get us where we want to go," Manager
On Thursday night, a ball went deep and a scoreless streak disappeared, but Clayton Kershaw remained, doing precisely what he needs to do, taking the Dodgers exactly where they need to go.