Clayton Kershaw's latest high-stakes start could be the most important of his career

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Clayton Kershaw‘s 2020 season at times seemed to resemble a dreamscape. There was the vintage summer, which saw him tap back into the type of stuff that seemed to be lost forever. And the dominant postseason opener, a stark reminder of the flaws in the narrative of his playoff career. And the setting for the bulk of his October — minutes away from his home in Dallas, a fitting stage for the World Series trophy that still famously eludes him.

The wake-up call came late Saturday afternoon, during a routine bullpen session, with a shooting pain Kershaw had probably experienced countless times before. His back spasmed. The National League Championship Series — the rest of this storybook season — was suddenly in jeopardy. The Los Angeles Dodgers‘ training staff spent the next 48 hours working diligently to relieve the pain in Kershaw’s back in time for him to make his Game 2 start, until he awoke Tuesday morning and didn’t feel up for it.

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Instead, he’ll take the ball in Thursday’s Game 4 — following the Dodgers’ season-saving 15-3 rout over the Atlanta Braves — with some of the highest

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