Everything breaks right for Kershaw

The best pitcher in baseball this season put forth an effort that would rank with some of the best pitchers in postseason play.

A dominant seven-inning effort by Clayton Kershaw helped the Los Angeles Dodgers to an easy 6-1 win in their NLDS opener over the Atlanta Braves.

Kershaw racks up the K's

Kershaw’s 12 strikeouts were the most by a Dodgers pitcher since Sandy Koufax had 15 in Game 1 of the 1963 World Series against the Yankees.

12 K's, 1 Run or Fewer, 3 Hits or Fewer
Postseason Start

The only other Dodgers pitcher with 12 or more strikeouts in a World Series game was Carl Erskine, who had 14 for the Brooklyn Dodgers against the Yankees in 1953.

Kershaw tied the postseason single-game record for consecutive strikeouts with six, matching the mark previously set by Hod Eller (1919 Reds), Moe Drawbowsky (1966 Orioles), Todd Worrell (1985 Cardinals), Mike Hampton (2003 Braves) and Homer Bailey (2012 Reds).

The six also tied a personal best streak for Kershaw in any game.

Only four lefties have had more strikeouts in a postseason game than Kershaw did.

Koufax heads that list for his 1963 performance, followed by John Candelaria (1975 Pirates, 14 against the Reds), Randy Johnson (1997 Mariners against the Orioles, 13) and Cliff Lee (2010 Rangers against the Yankees).

How he won

Kershaw got two strikeouts with his fastball and 10 with his breaking pitches.

Braves hitters missed on 16 of 29 swings against Kershaw’s curve and slider. They fouled off 12 of the other 13. The only one they hit in play among the 51 he threw was Justin Upton’s nubber back to the mound in the fourth inning.

The 16 breaking ball swings and misses were the most for any pitcher in a postseason game in the five years for which we have pitch-performance data.