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Clayton Kershaw keeps on dominating

Jun 25, 2014, 9:16 AM EDT

clayton kershaw getty dodgers Getty Images

Last time he tossed a no-hitter that could have easily been a perfect game. This time: eight scoreless innings where he allowed nothing but singles while striking out eight batters and walking only one. It’s safe to say that Clayton Kershaw is taking things to a whole other level.

Kershaw now has an 8-2 record, a 2.24 ERA, and has struck out 94 guys while walking only nine in 72 and a third. In June, he is 5-0 with a 0.97 ERA and only two walks to 48 strikeouts. Just crazy.

Kershaw is actually better now than he was in his two Cy Young seasons and the last three years in which he has led the league in ERA every time. How? He’s now turned into an extreme groundball pitcher, which gives the opposition even less of a chance to do damage against him than before. Over his career his groundball to flyball ratio is 1.26. This season: 2.77. Maybe it’s flukey, but it’s certainly impressive.

Someone got bent out of shape last week when I compared Kershaw to Sandy Koufax. Tell me: how is that comparison anything but apt?

  1. ereed1286 - Jun 25, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    2013 NLCS Game 6.

    Just sayin’.

    – A Cardinals Fan

    • josemartez - Jun 25, 2014 at 9:30 AM

      I love when people say “just sayin'”. And by love I mean hate.

    • dillongeeescapeplan - Jun 25, 2014 at 9:34 AM

      If we’re gonna play that stupid game, in regards to Wainwright:

      2013 WS, game 1

      Just saying’.

      – A Red Sox Fan

    • Francisco (FC) - Jun 25, 2014 at 9:41 AM

      Yes because one bad game is proof positive the man is not the dominant pitcher of our times.

    • yahmule - Jun 25, 2014 at 9:43 AM

      I’m just saying you’re a stupid asshole. Snap judgment, I admit, but it feels like a sound one.

    • apkyletexas - Jun 25, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      Agreed. 2013 NLCS Game 6. The dude freaks out in the clutch.

      – A Pirates fan who would take Gerritt Cole or Michael Wacha over Kershaw 8 days a week

      • stex52 - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:15 AM

        Seven years in the bigs, a career ERA of 2.58, career WHIP of 1.08, 85 wins, just coming off one of the best games pitched in the history of baseball. Oh yes, and two Cy Youngs and second place for a third.

        Is it possible that you are judging a little too much on the sample size of one bad game?

        Wacha looks pretty talented, but c’mon.

      • erbaodai - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:22 AM

        @stex52 Don’t try to argue with apkyletexas, look at his past comments, he’s a well-known Dodger hater.

      • apkyletexas - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:35 AM

        4 innings, 10 hits, 7 runs, 7 earned runs, 2 walks, 2 wild pitches.

        In a must-win game.

      • stex52 - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:44 AM

        Single sample point. Identify a HOF pitcher who did not have that happen in his career.

      • zzalapski - Jun 25, 2014 at 12:15 PM

        Vegas loves people who think like you do.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jun 25, 2014 at 12:44 PM

        To bring it up again, apkyletexas thinks Greg Maddux doesn’t belong in the HoF. Remember that when discussing/arguing over who he thinks is better than others.

      • apkyletexas - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:22 PM

        Vegas loves people who don’t gamble? I highly doubt it.

      • Reflex - Jun 25, 2014 at 3:28 PM

        Also he believes that Griffey was ‘rushed to the majors’. And that only the Pirates develop their players right.

        Wacha is good. Cole is good. Neither are as good as Kershaw. Kershaw at this point has already put up 34 WAR, in only six years he’s put up 2/3 of what Koufax put up in twelve years.

        And anyone who would take their young arms over Kershaw at this point is an idiot. The only other pitcher in the same class as Kershaw is Felix, and Felix is a bit older.

    • kingscourt25 - Jun 25, 2014 at 10:58 AM

      Is this the game where the Cardinals paper cut him to death with seeing eye singles?

    • stex52 - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:43 AM

      One game. Just sayin’. I’ll bet you would take him on the Cards in a heartbeat.

  2. dillongeeescapeplan - Jun 25, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    Just sayin’. Stupid autocorrect.

  3. notsofast10 - Jun 25, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    And I believe he is doing it the “old fashion way” No PED’s.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:04 AM

      Because PEDs help you pitch the ball low in the zone? What?

      Oh, I forgot. PEDs are magic pills that turn an everyday shlub into a superduper millionaire athlete.

    • stex52 - Jun 25, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      And the key word is “believe.” I don’t think he is. But I defy you to tell me you know for sure.

  4. southpaw2k - Jun 25, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    Yeah, but as you correctly pointed out in ATH Craig, Kershaw went from a nearly perfect game (sans one error that allowed a hitter to get on base) to pitching a mere 8 innings, walking 1, and giving up 6 hits. Kershaw is clearly falling off the wagon.

    One of my best friends is a native Philly guy and had all kinds of man love for Doc during his days in Philly. When Doc had made his next start in the playoffs after pitching that no-hitter against the Reds in 2010, my buddy actually got upset when one of the Giants actually got a base hit off him. He realized how spoiled he sounded after thinking things like, “Doc gave up a SINGLE? Charlie better get him outta there!”

  5. kastout11 - Jun 25, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    I don’t think you can make comparisons to Koufax. Totally different era, and nearly impossible to compare the two. Clearly, he is the best pitcher in MLB right now and has been for the last few. He is so young that if he stays healthy, he could be dominant for the next 10 years.

    • stex52 - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:04 AM

      I’m a big Koufax fan. But if he dominates that long and picks up a couple or three more CY awards, I will put him in the conversation with Koufax. And maybe above him.

      • chinahand11 - Jun 25, 2014 at 12:04 PM

        I’m a Dodger hater, but I respect and love talent. My thoughts on this guy is “Koufaxian.” Not a Koufax yet, but Kershaw sure is putting up some pretty numbers in his young career. Give him a few more, we’ll see.

    • Reflex - Jun 25, 2014 at 3:34 PM

      Fortunately we have tools that permit us to compare across eras. Baseball-Reference is loaded with them, and they permit you to compare across eras, leagues, ballparks and many other factors. WAR is a good rough estimate, and based on WAR they are actually in the same conversation, in fact a strong case can be made that by age and seasons in the bigs, Kershaw is actually better than Koufax.

      Also telling is that Koufax’s number one comp by age via BR’s similarity score is….Clayton Kershaw.

    • tmc602014 - Jun 26, 2014 at 5:54 PM

      The best part: Both names start with “K”

  6. happytwinsfan - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    Kershaw is so good that his 7 year 215 million dollar contract is about the only mega buck long term pitcher contract that makes sense for his team, barely. We’re in the middle of his peak, enjoy.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:41 AM

      I think Greinke is so far holding up his end of his megadeal, too.

    • Reflex - Jun 25, 2014 at 3:35 PM

      Kershaw is only 26 years old. Players typically ‘peak’ between 26-32. Kershaw is only now entering his prime years, and has, barring injury, another 6 ‘peak’ seasons left in him.

      • happytwinsfan - Jun 25, 2014 at 4:22 PM

        “barring injury” is no small condition, in fact it’s pretty unlikely that he won’t, like most pitchers, be dealing with injuries over the next six years. Has he had his TJ surgery yet?

        I’m not knocking him, he’ll probably wind up being the best pitcher of this decade. But pitchers these days are like high powered dragsters, they only run so long and the engines can throw a piston at any time.

      • Reflex - Jun 25, 2014 at 4:29 PM

        I guess the problem with that statement is that it applies equally to all pitchers, so saying ‘barring injury’ is the disclaimer for every pitcher in the discussion, and not especially more for Kershaw than anyone else.

        And no, he has not had a TJ, but he also has none of the suspected indicators of an impending one in his motion. That said its still a black art, and he may be a great pitcher until the day he is not and we all wonder how he fell off so quickly.

        My point though was to counter the ‘middle of his prime’ statement. He’s not in the middle, he’s only just entering it. And that’s scary. He’s already put up 2/3 of the amount of WAR that Koufax did, despite only having six seasons in the bigs to Koufax’s 12.

  7. erbaodai - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    If Kershaw can pitch 200+ innings while leading the league in ERA and wins, he’ll win his third Cy Young in four years.

    • nbjays - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:43 AM

      If Kershaw can stay healthy, he has the best chance of breaking Clemens’ record of 7 awards.

    • stex52 - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:59 AM

      I was looking at the stats this week. Two hundred innings this year is a stretch because of the starts he lost. He only has 72 to date, about 40 innings behind the leaders.

      That is why I projected Wainwright as having a better chance. Cueto is also having an exceptional year with more innings pitched and an even lower ERA. Teheran, Bumgarner, Alvarez and Strasburg all have to be considered in the mix at this point.

      He is an amazing talent but there are a lot of guys this year who are also pitching very well.

      • ramrene - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:05 PM

        Nah, you’ve got to give it to Kershaw over Wainwright just because the name ‘Kershaw’ sounds cooler than ‘Wainwright’.

    • kingscourt25 - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:04 PM

      He’s projected to throw around 195

      • erbaodai - Jun 25, 2014 at 9:44 PM

        If he can average 7 2/3 innings per start in his remaining 17 starts, he’ll end up with 202.

  8. thetoolsofignorance - Jun 25, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    I was just told by my IT department to get on here and read this as I came through the door. Since he set this little lap top up for me i assume he can read everything I write as I write it since he’s one of those sneaky, underhanded Canadian types who is likely reading sports during work hours (I know everything you are doing, David. EVERYTHING!!!!! now get back to work).

    It was I who got “bent out of shape” over the Koufax reference but not because you compared Kershaw to him. I’d just done said something like that myself in the “And That Happened” comments (he reminded me of Koufax in the no hitter). No, it was the part where you said -and it grinds my gears still to repeat this- that Koufax’s numbers were “a little inflated”.
    They were not. They compare more than favorably to the pitchers of his era who pitched in the exact same dead ball time

    but I think Kershaw might be one for the ages, too. Could wind up being just as good as Sandy. In time. I’ll review these comments at the end of the season and see where the youngster Mr. Kershaw is and perhaps i will concede that I am privileged to have seen in my lifetime on my team 2 such great pitchers but I’m not doing that mid-season with The Giants still to catch. For now we have 2 outstanding pitching performances in a row by a really nice young man which is good enough for me.

    • ramrene - Jun 26, 2014 at 11:59 AM

      >They compare more than favorably to the pitchers of his era who pitched in the exact same dead ball time

      The dead ball time (era) was between 1900-1919.

      I’m not old enough to see Koufax pitch but I think he pitched sometime after the “dead ball era” sometime around early 1960?

      • thetoolsofignorance - Jun 26, 2014 at 1:52 PM

        You should then check out Craig’s comment from a week ago in HBT Daily, not mine-
        http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/06/19/hbt-daily-kershaws-no-no-was-one-for-the-ages/

        Note that phrase: “The Second deadball era of the 1950’s”

  9. claymatthewshairplugs - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    Anyone saying they’d rather have any other pitcher than Kershaw is either a homer or doesn’t know baseball. Felix, Wainwright and all those guys are good, but Kershaw is on another level. He’s just absolutely filthy and the most dominant pitcher I’ve seen since the prime years of Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez. As a Giants fan I hate the fact we have to face this guy quite frequently during the season but as a baseball fan I appreciate the greatness I’m seeing. Kershaw no doubt best pitcher in baseball.

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