Kershaw: I think so. People say you’ve got to get over it and wait for the next season. They’re probably right, but it’s just so hard. You can not think about it, but when you think about it, all you had to do was win one game and you could’ve won a World Series. When you start thinking about that, it makes it a little harder. If you haven’t noticed, I’m not quite there yet. Spring training’s coming up soon, so I guess I’ve got to get over it.
I think the part of it that makes it a little easier was that Houston was a really good team. They really were. I have a lot of respect for the guys on that team, the young guys that have kind of made that team what it is whether it be Springer, or Altuve, or Correa, all those guys. It was a pretty special group to play against. I think that makes it a little easier that it wasn’t a bunch of jerks over there; it’s a bunch of guys that it was fun to compete against. They deserve to win that World Series, no doubt.
I was talking to Mark Cuban about 2006 when he lost, and just how hard that was to get over. He said it took a really long time for him too. I think it’s almost normal. You lose that big of a game, something that the city cares about, the team cares about. We haven’t won a World Series in LA in 30 years now. There’s a lot of things that it’s going to linger for a little bit.
What is your mindset in the rare instance when you aren’t having your best game?
Clayton Kershaw: That happens more than you’d like it to, for sure. I think that’s part of being a starting pitcher. They always say 30 starts a year, 10 starts you’re going to dominate, 10 starts you’re going to be terrible, and those 10 starts in between are going to make or break your season is kind of what they say. I don’t buy that for a second. I feel like those bad starts you can control it up to some point with your competes… The way you compete, the way you go about it, you’re not going to have good stuff all the time, but you can out-compete the other team, and that’s what I try and tell high school kids. That’s what I try to tell them all the time is that you don’t have to be the best every single day, but you have to be the best competitor every single day, and that can kind of get you out of it.
Some days it might not work. Some days you give up three homers, and I think I gave up 57 homers last year, but you just don’t hang your head about it. You keep going and keep going until they take you out, and it’s just time, and sometimes it’s sooner than you’d like it to be.
Thoughts on your angry demeanor whenever you’re having an “off” day on the mound
Kershaw: I think I’ve gotten a little more mellow since I’ve had kids. I don’t take it home with me, but when I’m at the field and in between innings, I’m not in a good place sometimes.
Do you allow yourself to think you’ve got a chance at something really special after a few innings have gone well?
Kershaw: I think that’s a good tendency sometimes is you start looking ahead. I think that’s when you start to get in trouble too though. I think if you start looking ahead too far and thinking about, “man I’ve got it today, it’ll be the seventh or eighth inning before you know it, and we’ll have a win,” but that fourth or fifth inning can happen fast and a couple big hits here or there, and you can lose the game. No matter what you think at the time, it’s still all about the next batter. It’s hard to stay focused, especially when you do have good stuff that day, but that’s just part of it.