Clayton Kershaw, with rare save, tops players in NLDS Game 5, as Dodgers eliminate Nationals

Clayton Kershaw picked up his first career save, earning Box-Toppers Player of the Game honors, as the Los Angeles Dodgers eliminated the Washington Nationals Thursday in Game 5 of the National League Division Series.

National League Division Series Game 5: Dodgers 4, Nationals 3

Kershaw got the final two outs, allowing no runs, no hits, no walks, striking out one and earning the save.

The Dodgers beat the Nationals in the best-of-five game series, 3-2.

Kershaw, far and away the most dominant starting pitcher of the 2010s decade, earned his first career save only two days after starting in Game 4.

During the regular season, Kershaw had 24.4 Box-Toppers points, ranked second among all players, behind only Max Scherzer (25.7), who started Game 5 for the Nationals. Since 2011, Kershaw has 150.2 Box-Toppers points, far ahead of the second-place player, who is also Scherzer (111.3).

Kershaw had a Box-Toppers game score Thursday of +1.2. Dodgers starting pitcher Rich Hill also had a Box-Toppers game score of +1.2 (2.2IP 3H R 2BB 6K ND). But Kershaw won Player of the Game honors on a tiebreaker because he earned the save while Hill earned a no decision. Had Kershaw not earned a win or save, Hill would have won Player of the Game because he had more innings pitched. Hill had 14.4 Box-Toppers points on the season, eighth among NL pitchers.

Joc Pederson had the highest Box-Toppers game score (+1.0) among Dodgers batters (HR 2-3 R BI). The usual Dodgers closing pitcher, Kenley Jansen, pitched middle relief in the seventh, eighth and part of the ninth inning before being relieved by Kershaw. Jansen had a Box-Toppers game score of +1.1 (2.1IP H 0R 4BB 4K ND).

Scherzer, the season leader in Box-Toppers points who started for the Nationals, seemed on track to earn Player of the Game honors while his team led. Scherzer had a Box-Toppers game score of +4.0 (6IP 5H R 2BB 7K ND). The Nationals top batter was Chris Heisey, who had a Box-Toppers game score of +3.0 (HR 1-1 R 2BI).

Though the Washington Nationals had the better regular season winning percentage (.586 vs. .562), the Los Angeles Dodgers rank higher in Box-Toppers team rankings. Dodgers players have accumulated 125.2 Box-Toppers points, third-most among all teams, while the Nationals have 116.1, ranked eighth.

The Dodgers now face the Chicago Cubs in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series beginning Saturday in Chicago.

See the season Box-Toppers point totals of all Dodgers and Nationals players who earned Player of the Game honors in 2016.

About Box-Toppers—Box-Toppers tracks who most helps their team win the most games. Using standard box score statistics, Box-Toppers uses a simple formula to determine a Player of the Game for each Major League Baseball game played. That player is the person who contributed most to his team’s win. In regular season games, players earn 1.0 Box-Toppers point for being named Player of the Game and can earn bonus points for being Player of the Day or top player or batter in their league for the day.

Box-Toppers strives for accuracy. See a mistake in a post? A wrong name, wrong team, grammar error, spelling goof, etc.? Thanks for pointing it out! Contact Box-Toppers here. Let's fix it and make it right.

Top player from each game

Listed from highest to lowest Box-Toppers game score

BTG Game Player of Game AB R H BI IP H R ER BB K
1.2 LAD 4, WSH 3 Clayton Kershaw (S,1) - - - - 0.2 0 0 0 0 1
BTG: Box-Toppers game score