On the ground floor of Nationals Park in Washington, in a hallway underneath sections 116 and 117, Clayton Kershaw emerged from isolation as his teammates jogged off the field. He ascended a flight of seven steps into the third base dugout. He zipped a Dodger blue jacket to his neck. He understood the fate of his franchise rested on his shoulders.
Kershaw conferred with manager Dave Roberts before leaving the dugout. His presence was spectral but unmistakable, a source of bewilderment and giddiness to teammates. Kershaw climbed six steps to the field and crossed paths with a winded Kenley Jansen.
“Am I dreaming?” Jansen wondered.
As he walked along the left-field line...