They met on the field as one, the fielders converging on the mound, the others leaping over the railings of the cramped Wrigley Field dugout onto the diamond. Inside the flock of Dodgers, a group headed to the World Series for the first time since 1988, Clayton Kershaw blended into the pack, relishing an 11-1 victory over the Cubsto clinch the National League pennant in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.
On a night when a 28-season drought ended, Kershaw reaped the benefits of an offensive bounty. Enrique Hernandez supplied a trio of home runs, including a grand slam in the third inning that transformed Wrigley Field into a tomb and a two-run blast in the ninth that turned the Dodgers dugout into a mosh pit. The Dodgers led by seven runs after three innings and by nine midway through four. Kershaw responded to the largess with six innings of one-run baseball. He will be ready to start Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.
As October approached, the viability of Kershaw remained uncertain. He missed five weeks during the summer because of a back injury, his second in as many years. He surrendered more homers in 2017 than ever before. He gave up four homers in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, highlighting his vulnerability in this new era of launch angles and exit velocity.
In the past, the Dodgers relied upon Kershaw as their savior. In this postseason, they have lifted him up.
Read the full story on LATimes.com.