The last and final baseball game of 2017 is happening Wednesday night. Game 7 of the World Series, the Houston Astros against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Winner take all.
It’s very exciting, but also very complicated for managers. They’ve got starting pitchers lined up — Lance McCullers for the Astros and Yu Darvish for the Dodgers — but that’s not even half the battle. At the first sign of stress or problems (or anything questionable), both Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and Astros manager A.J. Hinch will be ready to call in the cavalry. And in this case, the cavalry is the bullpen.
Dave Roberts’ job just got a little easier, though. Because according to Clayton Kershaw, he’s available for however long Roberts needs him.
Clayton Kershaw in Game 7: “I can go 27 innings. Whatever they need.”
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) November 1, 2017
Yes, Kershaw is ready to pitch three complete games on Wednesday night. And I don’t think anyone would challenge him on that. Even Dave Roberts was reluctant to put a concrete innings number on Kershaw.
“I think part of it is how efficient he is,” Roberts told reporters when asked how long Kershaw could go on Wednesday. “But I know that he was up in the pen [during Game 6]. So one reason I wanted to stay away from him is so we could get him a little bit more tomorrow. So when you’re talking about Clayton Kershaw, Game 7, I think anything’s within reason. So now when we look at what we have, we’re going to go through it and think how we can kind of get through, navigate tomorrow. But knowing that we have Alex Wood, Clayton and everyone else available, that’s a good sign. But Clayton, it’s hard to put a number on him.”
Kershaw is joking about going 27 innings, of course. But it’s clear that he’s absolutely 100 percent ready to go. His team is one win away from a World Series championship, and Kershaw will most likely have the opportunity to help them get there. While he’s mad mixed results as a starter in the playoffs, this is Clayton Kershaw we’re talking about. And don’t forget, Kershaw has made another relief appearance in the playoffs. He got the save in Game 5 of the 2016 NLDS against the Washington Nationals, which allowed the Dodgers to move on to face (and get beaten by) the Chicago Cubs.
Kershaw’s not the only starter who will be available for Game 7. Dallas Keuchel, who started Games 2 and 5 for the Astros, is ready out of the ‘pen. Even Justin Verlander, who turned in six innings in Game 6, told ESPN that he might be available to pitch out of the bullpen.
But all eyes will be on Kershaw. He’s the guy with the most to prove. And like Madison Bumgarner in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series, Kershaw is ready to put the team on his back and carry them to the finish line.
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More World Series coverage from Yahoo Sports:
• Lasorda to L.A. manager: ‘You haven’t done [expletive] … ’
• Report: Vegas gambler risking $14 million on Game 7
• Dodgers pitcher makes Astros star pay for racist gesture
• The defensive play that helped force a Game 7