It's the day after and I'm still sitting here stunned Clayton Kershaw didn't balk when Manuel Margot tried to steal home in the 4th inning of last night's World Series Game 5.
Just try and put yourself in that moment for a second. World Series tied at two games apiece. Rays with a ton of momentum, on the verge of tying up the game and erasing a three run lead. You have your back turned to the runner as you try to focus on the hitter and get the final out of the inning. All of a sudden in the blink of an eye you have to process this dude sprinting home right before you're about to get set and deliver the pitch. You have to gather yourself in a split second, step off properly without balking, and make a good throw to home in time to get the runner. I don't care how long you've been playing baseball or how good you are, that's a moment that is impossible to be ready for.
People will probably look at Kershaw's line from last night and say he pitched well, but that it was nothing spectacular. Sure, I hear you, but making that play and getting Margot at home was as clutch as can be. The Playoff Kershaw in the past balks there every time and proceeds to give up four more runs that inning. This new man, who is 2-0 in the World Series, composes himself and makes the winning play. I'd go as far to say that was the biggest play of his entire career. That was the ball game right there as far as I'm concerned. Rays tie it, I think they ride that to a victory no doubt. Dodgers getting out of that unscathed when it was 1st and 3rd nobody out to begin in the inning was enormous for them.
Here's the lefty talking about it afterwards.
I'm so happy for Kershaw. One more win and this guy gets his ring. Finally.