Astros tip their caps to Clayton Kershaw after 11-strikeout performance

first_img Chris Taylor embraces the moment early in Dodgers’ Game 1 victory Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Clayton Kershaw strikes out 11 as Dodgers win World Series opener Related Articles Miller: Clayton Kershaw survives 7th inning, Dodgers just hum along World Series Game 2: Dodgers vs. Astros, lineups, starting pitchers, TV info 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 A.J. Hinch said. “He landed his breaking ball a little better than we’ve seen in the past, but he’s tough. He showed it tonight, by being in attack mode, being in the strike zone early and got us pretty defensive from the get-go.”It left the Astros to shrug their shoulders and head back to a quiet clubhouse with a thought that so many Kershaw opponents have had: It was him, not us.“He was commanding his pitches really good,” Jose Altuve said. “He located his fastball, slider, cutter, whatever you want to call it, and his curveball was good. Sometimes you have to tip your hat to the pitcher. That’s what we’re doing right now.”Altuve, a three-time batting champ who is not easy to strike out, was called out on strikes on a fourth-inning slider that seemed to be below the zone.“It could go both ways,” Altuve said. “I wanted it to go my way. That’s why I was mad. I was mad because of the intensity of the game.”Alex Bregman, who provided the Astros’ only run with a fourth-inning homer against Kershaw, suggested the call to Altuve was one of many pitches that Kershaw got from plate ump Phil Cuzzi.“He’s a great pitcher,” Bregman said. “He’s going to be in the Hall of Fame. He made some good pitches. He made some good marginal pitches that went his way. If you get a veteran guy that’s getting marginal pitches, you know you’re in for a tough night. He took complete advantage of getting the marginal pitches. He pitched where he needed to pitch.”center_img 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.Video: Analysis & interviews from Game 1 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.” Whicker: Underneath the noise, Dodgers’ Corey Seager comes back comfortably Photos: Los Angeles Dodgers take on the Houston Astros Game 1 of the 2017 World Series Video: Dodgers Kershaw, Turner, Taylor provide spark in Game 1 last_img read more