On a night when a 28-season drought ended, Kershaw reaped the benefits of an offensive bounty. Enrique Hernandez supplied a trio of home runs, including a grand slam in the third inning that transformed Wrigley Field into a tomb and a two-run blast in the ninth that turned the Dodgers dugout into a mosh pit. The Dodgers led by seven runs after three innings and by nine midway through the fourth. Kershaw responded to the largess with six innings of one-run baseball. He will be ready to start Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.
As October approached, the viability of Kershaw remained uncertain. He missed five weeks during the summer because of a back injury, his second in as many years. He surrendered more homers in 2017 than ever before. He gave up four homers in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, highlighting his vulnerability in this new era of launch angles and exit velocity.