“We stuck with the plan, so credit to Doc for that one,” he said, referring to Roberts by his nickname. “D-May came in and threw the ball awesome, Victor the same way, Blake too. Unbelievable job by those guys tonight.”
For one moment, though, Kershaw was an old-time ace like Ford, startled by the alarm of a runner dashing in from third. It had happened to Kershaw before, in Houston in 2015, when Carlos Gomez broke in the same situation: runners at the corners, two outs, down by a run. Kershaw threw out Gomez then and did the same to Margot, with help from first baseman Max Muncy.
Kershaw is unusually deliberate from the stretch, standing straight and reaching above his head with both arms, as if trying to place a dot atop the letter i. Because of that, Muncy said, Kershaw stays aware that a runner behind him — on third base, that is — might try to bolt.
“I was fortunate to see one or two guys in the past maybe not steal, but they broke hard,” Muncy said. “I sprinted straight to Kersh and said, ‘Home, home, home!’ and he knew what to do.”
Margot spent the last four seasons with the San Diego Padres and faced Kershaw frequently. His calculation made sense: The hitter, Kevin Kiermaier — a lefty facing the left-handed Kershaw — was behind in the count, 0-1. If you assume, perhaps generously, that Kiermaier had a 25 percent chance to get a hit, then Margot’s chance of being safe was probably better, especially with third baseman Justin Turner shifted far off the bag.