Legacies are made in the postseason. It's where memories are formed, images are permanently etched and moments become eternal.
He seemed well on his way to building such a postseason legacy Friday in the
If he seemed to melt during that eight-run seventh inning, in a game that started in 92-degree heat, it had less do to with Kershaw reaching the wall than the Dodgers again revealing their greatest failing -- an inconsistent bullpen.
Kershaw had given up five hits to seven batters to start the seventh, and Manager
"It's hard to take Clayton out," Mattingly said.
It is with that erratic bullpen. Any other time, any other situation, the manager signals for a reliever.
But the seventh and eighth innings have been the Land of the Unknown all season for the Dodgers, a great adventure with an uncertain ending. Mattingly has understandable confidence in Kershaw, but clearly precious little in his bullpen.
Kershaw had reached the 100-pitch mark, but still he stayed in against
Fear of using the bullpen cost the Dodgers. And then actually using it did. It's an old story, dusted off and made postseason-fresh.
Pedro Baez is a converted third baseman, but Mattingly has so little faith in his veteran relievers, he called on his overmatched rookie to replace Kershaw in a one-run game. Baez gave up a walk and then a three-run homer to
That final blow would hold up as the difference in the crushing 10-9 loss.
Kershaw deserved better than tying
Kershaw will likely win his third
But he knows well that real reputations are built upon postseason success. He looks at the acclaim rained upon Derek Jeter this season and knows much of it comes from his having won five
"You need that," Kershaw said before the series started. "At the end of the day, if you want to be remembered in baseball, you need that."
Now one of the greatest pitchers of our time could have part of his final legacy stained by what some will deem his postseason failing. He also was hit hard by the Cardinals last season in the final game of the