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Prior to Tuesday night, Clayton Kershaw’s last appearance in Minute Maid Park was a nightmare. The Astros couldn’t hit the left-handed ace without a trash can.
In nearly eight innings of work, Kershaw made a point — while the 2017 Astros were a great team, they had a technological advantage, one that delayed the Dodgers World Series ascent for another three years.
Tuesday night was personal. Six strikeouts and just four hits and one earned run later, Kershaw can leave Houston a winner, the feat which was stolen from him just a few years prior.
Kershaw didn’t comment on his return to Houston prior to the game. He went about his business, per usual, as he has for over a decade of big-league ball.
It was Game 5 against the Astros that represented the pinnacle of his past postseason struggles. In many ways, it haunted him until that weight was lifted last fall.
Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw is taking the high road in Houston
Kershaw didn’t trash talk the Astros before the teams battled at Minute Maid Park, but that didn’t stop his teammates. Dave Roberts had a more measured approach.
“These are two different clubs, two very good ballclubs,” Roberts said on Sunday, per the Los Angeles Times. “We’re almost four years removed. I know we’re very excited to play this club, go back in there and win a couple of ballgames. I expect the crowd to be energized, and that’s what it’s all about.”
The 33-year-old Kershaw didn’t just beat the Astros, he mowed them down. The filthy variety speaks for itself, including this ridiculous curveball.
Sports karma has a way of working itself out. The Astros received theirs (at least partially) four years in the making.