The World Series has been over for a week now. The "Hot Stove" is about to start heating up. Most of the baseball talk in the next couple of months will be centered around awards decisions, free agent signings, trade rumors, and Hall of Fame voting. I'm excited. It's a pretty fun time of year for baseball fans, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't leave that incredible World Series feeling a little dissatisfied.
It wasn't just that Game 7 was a dud (the rest of the series was sooo great that who cares). It's more that now since the Dodgers lost, and since Clayton Kershaw had a rough Game 5, the narrative around his legacy is going to continue to be negative. Sigh.
Sports fans today have an obsession with perfection in our best players. Maybe it's because Jordan went 6-for-6 in the finals, but whether it's Lebron, A-Rod, or now Kershaw we're always looking to poke holes in careers. I'm tired of it, particularly with Kershaw. It's no longer a hot take to say he isn't great in the playoffs. Everyone knows that. He's been inconsistent. And at times he has looked great. Last season he came out of the bullpen in a do-or-die NLDS Game 5 and sent the Dodgers to the NLCS. Then he dominated the Cubs in NLCS Game 3 before losing Game 6.
This year he was awesome against the Cubs in the NLCS Game 5 clincher, and then pitched well in Game 1 of the World Series, and out of the bullpen in Game 7. But since he got hit hard in Game 5 "he can't handle the pressure". That's ridiculous because he's had big playoff moments, which proves he isn't "soft". He's inconsistent. And that's before you factor in all the post-season innings he has logged over the past four years, and how EVERYONE got lit up in this World Series.
Kershaw could never win a World Series, finish his career with similar post-season numbers, and he will still UNDOUBTEDLY be the best pitcher of our generation. He has the best ERA in baseball since entering the league in 2009. In the seven year stretch since breaking out in 2011 Kershaw has won three Cy Youngs and a MVP award. He has led the league in ERA five times, WHIP four times, and strikeouts three times. The inconsistent playoff stats are the reason he isn't the GOAT. But that's alright. He's still the best I've ever seen.