Kershaw entered Game 5 with two outs and a two-run lead in the seventh inning. He struck out Adam Eaton, but came back out for the eighth and surrendered back-to-back home runs to Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto that tied the game. Later, after watching the Nats take the lead for good with a four-run 10th inning, Kershaw sounded particularly defeated. He talked, somberly, about disappointing his teammates and said that “everything people say is true right now about the postseason,” a nod to his infamous October struggles.
Nine weeks later, while attending a holiday party for about 300 children at Dodger Stadium on Friday, Kershaw was appreciably more upbeat. He had trimmed his beard, had seemingly lost some weight and had acquired a fresh perspective.
“You have two options: You can either just kind of crawl into a hole, or you can move on and try to get better for the next year,” he said. “I don’t want to crawl into a hole yet, so I’m going to try to get better for the next year.”
Kershaw, noticeably in…