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Clayton Kershaw stumbles in 9-5 win over Diamondbacks, Dodgers clinch Game 1 of NLDS

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You can add Clayton Kershaw to the list of postseason aces that have dropped the ball this month. The Dodgers’ powerhouse lefty cruised through six innings of three-hit, two-run ball before the Diamondbacks caught up with him, mashing back-to-back home runs in the seventh to spoil his quality start. Luckily, that wasn’t quite enough to sabotage the rest of the Dodgers’ efforts, and they took Game 1 of the NLDS with a 9-5 finish over Arizona.

Another note about Kershaw’s outing: no other pitcher has given up four home runs in a single postseason game against a National League team.

It’s not as if the Diamondbacks had bragging rights in the pitching department. Taijuan Walker labored through a 48-pitch first inning, issuing four hits and two walks as the Dodgers worked up to a four-run lead. He struck out the side, too, but even those at-bats were wearisome, taking a full 15 pitches to send Curtis Granderson, Yasmani Grandal and Kershaw down swinging.

Walker was done after the first inning, but the D-backs’ reinforcements didn’t slow the Dodgers down for long. Zack Godley ran into trouble in the fourth inning, allowing three runs on a pair of run-scoring singles by Corey Seager and Justin Turner and a productive out from Yasiel Puig.

Seager and Turner double-teamed again in the eighth inning, helping paper over Kershaw’s mistakes with an RBI triple and RBI single, respectively. Kenley Jansen let a run squeak by on an RBI force out in the ninth inning, but quickly recovered to squash the D-backs’ rally with a first-pitch, game-ending line out from David Peralta.

Game 2 is set for Saturday at 9:00 PM ET, which means we get at least three more games of this:

Rich Hill (12-8, 3.32 ERA) will take on fellow lefty Robbie Ray (15-5, 2.89 ERA), but don’t read too much into those numbers. If nothing else, this postseason has shown us that anything can (and will) happen.

Report: Mets sign Brad Brach to one-year, $850,000 contract

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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Mets and free agent reliever Brad Brach have agreed on a one-year deal worth $850,000. The contract includes a player option for the 2021 season with a base salary of $1.25 million and additional performance incentives.

Brach, 33, signed as a free agent with the Cubs this past February. After posting an ugly 6.13 ERA over 39 2/3 innings, the Cubs released him in early August. The Mets picked him up shortly thereafter. Brach’s performance improved, limiting opposing hitters to six runs on 15 hits and three walks with 15 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings through the end of the season.

While Brach will add some much-needed depth to the Mets’ bullpen, his walk rate has been going in the wrong direction for the last three seasons. It went from eight percent in 2016 to 9.5, 9.7, and 12.8 percent from 2017-19. Needless to say the Mets are hoping that trend starts heading in the other direction next season.