Two of the homers came back to back in the seventh inning. In his career, Kershaw has been charged with 17 runs over a total of seven innings for a 21.86 ERA in the seventh inning of postseason games.
"I don't like to take history or individual history into account too much, because the recency, as far as that particular game, should hold a lot of value," said Roberts before the Dodgers' 8-5 win over the D-backs in Game 2 on Saturday. "But I do believe with the 'pen that we have and the trust in it, you have to weigh everything in. I do think that Clayton's special. It is my responsibility to look at all angles and decide how far to push him."
Through six innings, Kershaw had made 92 pitches, including the ones that A.J. Pollock homered on in the third inning and J.D. Martinez homered on in the sixth. But there was no conversation with Kershaw in the dugout after the sixth inning and nobody was warming up in the bullpen until the inning started.
"For me, it was the part of the lineup that led into that," Roberts said, noting that the sixth, seven and eighth batters in Arizona's order were due up in the seventh. "I felt he was built up, prior rested, and so if he gets three outs, it's not even a conversation. At 92 pitches, was it coming out the way he wanted after six innings? No. Maybe if we didn't have that lead I might not have [let him pitch the seventh].
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"To be honest, the number in my head was 110 pitches. There was stress involved in the first inning, but after that there were two double plays. I think it's something we all learn from. There's something to really looking into it and learning from the last start. So, yeah, a potential Game 5 or Game 1 [of the NL Championship Series], I'll confer with everybody, like I always do, and we'll make a decision that's best for us. With the strength of our 'pen, there's nothing in me that says Clayton needs to be pushed and he needs to stay in until the game goes the other way. I don't feel that way. So the score had a little to dictate where I just felt."
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.