Even Clayton Kershaw wasn't immune from the 2017 home run barrage as he recorded a HR/9 north of 1.0 for the first time, allowing 23 long balls, by far a career high. He also averaged just 6.5 innings per start, his first season below 7.0 since 2012. The lefty also missed over a month due to injury for the third time in the last four seasons. Still, Kershaw remains the top fantasy starting pitcher, though durability likely precludes him from top overall player consideration. He's as dominant as ever, though his 2017 walk rate (1.5 BB/9) regressed back to career norms after his ultra-stingy 2016 campaign. While it's tempting to overlook the issue as Kershaw's health appears fine, back woes often hibernate; they rarely go away. Injury risk puts him atop a tier with fellow aces Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber and Chris Sale. The days of tossing 230-plus innings are likely over anyway, even if he stays healthy all year.
Manager Dave Roberts announced that Kershaw will start Game 1 of the World Series against the Yankees or Astros on Tuesday, Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com reports. Kershaw tossed six innings of one-run ball in Thursday's NLCS-clinching win over the Cubs, setting himself up to face off against the American League champions on a full four days of rest. Kershaw faced the Yankees once last season (five scoreless innings) but hasn't faced the Astros since 2015.
Kershaw will start Game 5 of the NLCS against the Cubs on Thursday, Tyler Kepner of The New York Times reports. The Dodgers were unable close out the series -- losing 3-2 to the Cubs on Wednesday -- so Kershaw will get the ball for Game 5 on Thursday as he looks to send Los Angeles to its first World Series since 1988. He allowed two runs on four hits and a walk while striking out four batters in five innings during his Game 1 start against Chicago.
Manager Dave Roberts announced that Kershaw will start Game 1 of the NLCS against either the Cubs or Nationals on Saturday, Bill Plunkett of The Orange County Register reports. As expected, the Dodgers' ace will be on the mound to kick off the best-of-seven set against the winner of Thursday's Cubs vs. Nationals matchup. Kershaw allowed four runs over 4.1 innings in his lone start against the Cubs this season and tossed seven innings of one-run ball in his outing against the Nationals.
Kershaw allowed three runs on seven hits and no walks over four innings in a no-decision against the Rockies on Saturday. Kershaw only threw 57 pitches in Saturday's outing, which isn't much of a surprise as manager Dave Roberts had announced that the Dodgers would limit their ace's usage so that he could be fresh for the postseason. While it wasn't his most stellar outing by any means, Kershaw was able to avoid being tagged with a loss. Over the course of the 2017 campaign, Kershaw went 18-4 over 27 starts and turned in a shining 2.31 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. While he did miss a few starts due to a back injury, Kershaw proved to be a premier fantasy option when healthy, as he turned in his fifth straight season with an ERA below the 2.50 mark.
Manager Dave Roberts announced Tuesday that Kershaw will be on a pitch limit in his upcoming Saturday start against the Rockies, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. Though Kershaw isn't dealing with any sort of injury, the Dodgers will still tread cautiously with their ace during his final start of the season. It's unclear how brief his outing will be, but season-long fantasy owners should still feel confident inserting Kershaw into their starting lineups. His DFS appeal is obviously capped by his potential short outing, however.