As the Brewers face the Dodgers for a World Series berth, here’s a few reasons why Milwaukee is pretty much way better than Los Angeles.
Mike De Sisti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and his old friend, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, have walked lockstep through sports history since they were children.
They were always “big guys,” born a month apart. They grew up in Dallas as phenoms and prodigies dating to their heady days staring for their respective football and baseball teams at Highland Park High in Texas.
Their professional careers have even mirrored each other, becoming high draft picks who have signed massive contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars and have fought through injuries.
The notable difference has been the success each has had as a player and with their respective teams. Stafford has made one Pro Bowl and is 0-3 in the playoffs. Kershaw has thrown a no-hitter, won three Cy Young awards, been the National League MVP and has pitched in the World Series.
Stafford watched his old friend add to his legacy Wednesday night, when Kershaw threw a gem against the Brewers in Game 5 of the NLCS.
But Stafford said he isn’t jealous about Kershaw’s playoff time.
“No, man,” Stafford said Thursday. “I’m always just happy for him. Like I said, I love writing him ‘congratulations’ on the Cy Young text. That happens every other year if not every year. So I’m always happy for him, I’m always pulling for him.
“I know the work he puts into it and how important it is to him. I think everybody on his team knows it. Listening to some of those guys talk post-game (Wednesday), just about how much appreciation they have for him, not a pitcher and what he does out there but a leader in the locker room. So just happy for him always when he has success.”
The other similarity Stafford and Kershaw share is the ability to perform under less-than-peak physical condition. Stafford has played through a separated and a broken finger, among many other injuries. Kershaw has fought through shoulder and back injuries this year, costing him some velocity, yet he was able to strike out nine batters and allow just three hits in seven innings Wednesday to give the Dodgers a 3-2 lead in the series.
Stafford said he’s “got a ton” of respect for what Kershaw’s has gone through.
“He’s been banged up now a couple years in a row,” Stafford said, “fighting through it this year obviously and did an incredible job the other night, was tuned in. I really, to tell you the truth, expect that from him. I played with him for such a long time, I know how competitive he is. Guy never wants to ever come off the mound. I can promise you that.
“So just to watch him do that, perform at that level in the playoffs was a whole lot of fun for me to watch. Really had it rolling. They pulled him, but I mean, he could’ve kept going. He was only what, 99, 100 (pitches)? So was happy for him, happy for that team. It was a fun game to watch.”
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