In midst of NLCS, Kershaw mum on future with Dodgers
By BETH HARRIS
LOS ANGELES (AP) If Clayton Kershaw is pitching his final games for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner isn't saying.
Kershaw can opt out of the last two years and $70 million remaining on his contract after the World Series ends. Dodgers ownership has made it clear the team would like its ace to stay.
"I have not made a decision," Kershaw said Tuesday.
Kershaw is set to start Game 5 in the NL Championship Series against Milwaukee on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.
He was 9-5 with a 2.73 ERA in the regular season. After the All-Star break, he went 6-1 with the same ERA.
Kershaw admitted after his last regular-season start that he had considered the possibility of it being his last go-round with the Dodgers, the only team the 30-year-old left-hander has played for during his big league career.
But trying to stay alive in the best-of-seven pennant playoff has his full attention right now. The Dodgers trailed the Brewers 2-1 going into Tuesday.
"For me it's just trying to focus as much as I possibly can on the Brewers and getting ready for tomorrow's start," Kershaw said, "and putting everything else on the back burner as best I possibly can."
Observers have noted that Kershaw's fastball velocity isn't what it used to be, and he's had stints on the disabled list in four of the last five seasons with back issues, leaving some to wonder if his best years are behind him.
Kershaw's postseason numbers aren't nearly as good as during the regular season. He is 8-8 with a 4.26 ERA and one save in 26 career postseason games.
However, he had the best postseason performance of his career in Game 2 of the NL Division Series against Atlanta. Kershaw allowed two hits over eight shutout innings, struck out three and walked none.
Besides the numbers, Kershaw's value is that he has been the face of the Dodgers for nearly 10 years. The rest of the pitching staff, whether veteran or rookie, looks to him to set the tone in the clubhouse and on the mound.
His competitiveness is frequently cited by his teammates and Roberts.
"That's the thing about Clayton which has made him great, whether it's a spring training game or playoff game, he has the same intent," the manager said. "It's going to be the same intensity, the same focus."
Kershaw expressed gratitude for his time in Los Angeles. The Dallas native said he's grown up in the city, noting that he's gotten married and had two children during his years with the team.
"I'm just thankful that I've gotten to be here this long," he said. "It's been a great run. Whatever happens I'll be thankful for that always."
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Updated October 16, 2018