One doesn’t often see Clayton Kershaw falter after getting the count to 0-2. According to Baseball Reference, Kershaw allowed a minuscule .297 OPS this season after the count went to 0-2. Further, he allowed just one home run once he got that far ahead: to Brandon Crawford of the Giants on May 11 (per ESPN Stats & Info). Additionally, Kershaw had only allowed two home runs on his curve ball over his seven-year career (via Sports Illustrated).
No one told Cardinals outfielder Randal Grichuk. With one out in the first inning of the first game of the NLDS, the 23-year-old fouled off a couple of pitches and fell behind 0-2 to Kershaw, the presumptive NL Cy Young Award winner and potential NL MVP Award winner. Grichuk then ripped a curve ball over the fence in left field to put the Cardinals up 1-0. Not exactly the start many expected against Kershaw. And Grichuk was certainly not anyone’s pick to do the damage.
Kershaw was able to get out of the inning without any further problems. The Dodgers put together a threat of their own in the bottom half of the first, as Yasiel Puig singled with one out and Kemp singled with two outs, pushing Puig to third. But Hanley Ramirez sharply lined out to Matt Carpenter at third base to end the inning.
After one inning, there’s already been plenty of intrigue. The Cardinals have the early edge, 1-0.