Astros tip their caps to Clayton Kershaw after 11-strikeout performance
LOS ANGELES — To George Springer, Clayton Kershaw had been just a guy he’d seen on television.
The Houston Astros’ leadoff man had watched video of arguably the best pitcher on the planet before Game 1 of the World Series.
Afterward, he had a new understanding of Kershaw.
“The video,” Springer said, “doesn’t do it any justice.”
Springer had struck out all three times against Kershaw, and once against Kenley Jansen, contributing to a 12-strikeout night in their 3-1 loss to the Dodgers.
It was a bit of a shocker for the Astros to punch out that many times, having gotten to the World Series because of a dominating offense that did not strike out. The Astros managed to lead the majors in runs, while also striking out the fewest times.
All season, only two pitchers had struck out even 10 Houston hitters in a game, Aaron Nola of the Philadelphia Phillies and likely American League Cy Young winner Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians.
Then, Kershaw happened. He had 10 strikeouts by the 16th out of the game, on his way to 11 in seven innings.
The Astros struck out in just 17.3 percent of their plate appearances this season, best in the majors. They are the exception to the trend of strikeouts rising annually, and they’ve done so while still managing to hit homers and score plenty of runs.
Kershaw, however, took advantage of a couple spots in their lineup. Springer is the hitter who strikes out the most. Kershaw also got two of his strikeouts against pitcher Dallas Keuchel, who obviously wouldn’t normally be batting at all. Keuchel, a left-handed hitter, had no chance against Kershaw. One of his strikeouts was on a foul bunt.
“We don’t face him a ton, but that was pretty impressive what he could do, throwing a ton of fastballs,” Astros manager […]