The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 this evening scoring all three of their runs off Clayton Kershaw in the seventh inning. In game one of the series the Cardinals beat Kershaw as well knocking him out of the game after he imploded in the late innings. Naturally, because Kershaw is easily the best pitcher (perhaps even player) in baseball and failed to deliver in the post season, many have taken to twitter to declare Kershaw the "Peyton Manning of baseball". I find this comparison to be grossly over simplistic and wholly unfair.
Why? Well, for starters Peyton Mannings ability to carry his team to the playoffs and to individual wins is far greater than the influence Kershaw has on his team. An NFL quarterback can carry a team every time that team takes the field. Kershaw doesn't have that luxury. Kershaw pitched flawlessly for six innings on short rest. A team cannot ask, let alone expect, to get much more then that from a starter. If the Dodgers had any semblance of a bullpen they would have won this game. Because they do not Kershaw the narrative is Kershaw can't win in the post season? What a ridiculous sentiment. Kershaw just pitched brilliantly in the post season. He made one mistake after being asked to do too much.
Everyone also seems to have forgotten Kershaw dominated in the postseason last year, until game six in the NLCS. AGAINST THE CARDINALS. Maybe instead of saying Kershaw can't pitch in the post season, it be more accurate to say Kershaw can't pitch against the CARDINALS in the post season. Not to mention the kid is only 26! In baseball the post season is not a guarantee for great players. He may never get back; he may go back 10 more times, but to compare a 26 year old, who has had a total of three bad post season starts, to a quarterback who has an entire career of postseason mishaps and disappointments is just crazy to me.
Look, his post season stats don't look stellar compared to his regular season greatness, I'll concede that. But when you actually look at his individual performances you will see he has had more quality appearances than not. Tonight's loss hurts. It must have killed Kershaw to leave that curve ball hanging, but you can't put this loss on his shoulders. He struck out nine in six innings of one hit ball. If the Dodgers had any relief he would have never come out for the seventh. You can make the comparison to Peyton Manning till you're blue in the face, but in my opinion it seems lazy and unfair, especially when Kershaw's career is so young.
Maybe I am wrong. Tell me why on TWITTER!