Having won the NL West and advanced to the National League Championship Series in Dave Roberts’ first season as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team’s ace Clayton Kershaw told The Jim Rome Show on Wednesday the same culture still exists under Roberts in year two, and he hopes with the offseason pieces they added, it will lead to a longer playoff run in 2017.
“We came so close last year, and we pretty much have the same team back with a few awesome additions,” Kershaw said. “You know Logan Forsythe, (Franklin) Gutierrez in left, and we got a lot more guys healthy, myself included. So it’s a great team, and Doc’s [Manager Dave Robers] awesome. He has such a good pulse of the team, knows what he needs to say, when he needs to say it, and it’s just a lot of fun around here right now.”
Although the three-time Cy Young Award winner knows anything short of a World Series ring at this point in Los Angeles is considered a failure.
“Failure is no fun. Yeah, I’ve gotten to fail a few times in the postseason, obviously, so it’s never fun. You hopefully learn from it and get some experience, so for the next time, you’re more prepared, but that’s probably the company line,” Kershaw said. “I think at the end of the day, it’s not fun to lose and we’re excited.
“Being [in Chicago] for the ring ceremony and the World Series stuff for the Cubs, you know, I have to thank the schedule makers for that one. It’s pretty special, obviously, to get to see that and rub it in our faces a little bit, but maybe a little bit more motivation for us, and we like our chances this year, and I’m excited about it.”
During last season’s clinching NLDS Game 5 against the Washington Nationals, Kershaw shocked the world by coming out of the bullpen to save the game for an exhausted Kenley Jansen. Kershaw talked about how it went down to get his way in that situation.
“It was a crazy night. So much fun, obviously, to get to be on the good side of that, but you know it kind happened in the 7th inning,” Kershaw said. “We saw Kenley going in the game, I was sitting there talking with Chase Utley. Chase was like ‘It’s going to be tough for Kenley to pitch 3 innings.’ I was like you’re right, what are we going to do? He was like ‘Well, if you think you can do it, you should probably go tell them,’ and I was like, you’re probably right.”
Kershaw said the response he got from Roberts and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt at first was the same: “No way.” The pitcher laughed, adding, “Negotiations started happening, and I said well, let me go try and get loose and make sure I feel good and go from there, and they said ok. And yeah, it just kind of happened, happened really quick actually.”
The 29-year-old had pitched 110 pitches just two days earlier in the team’s Game 4 win, and explained how he got through the final two outs to win the divisional series.
“Adrenaline is definitely carrying you through that and you just kind of throw everything out the window,” Kershaw said. “It’s not your routine, you’ve never thrown out of the bullpen, all that stuff. At the end of the day, you still got to get two outs, and that’s what I just kept telling myself. It’s still pitching, just go out there and get two outs and thankful that it worked out.”