Kershaw Continues to Solidify Place in MLB History Books

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has been putting up historic numbers, taking down teams in deflating fashion and solidifying his place in the MLB history books. When it’s Kershaw’s turn on the mound social media explodes with #KershawDay hashtags.

No surprise since is seems every time Kershaw is on the mound something historic happens. In his most recent outing vs. the Angels Kershaw hit yet another milestone in his career with the Dodgers.

He became the fifth pitcher ever to record six consecutive games with double-digit strikeouts.

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Taking a closer look at Kershaw’s numbers, to date he has racked up an unheard of 88Ks and four walks in 70 innings. He also has a 1.67 ERA in his first nine starts.

Business Insider crunched the numbers to calculate Kershaw’s strikeout-to-walk ration in MLB history. Results are shown below.

Business Insider Kershaw Stats

So what does this mean exactly?

From Cork Gaines, Business Insider:

A pitcher is said to be doing well if he strikes out three batters for every walk he gives up.

Kershaw is striking out 22 batters for every walk. MLB has never seen anything even remotely close to that. Prior to this season, there have only been 20 pitchers who finished a season with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of at least 7.0 and nobody has ever finished higher than 11.6.

The Dodgers are still looking to find a rhythm and have a long road trip ahead of them. In the coming weeks the Boys in Blue will face the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs.

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Elisa Hernandez

Sports enthusiast serving as DodgersNation.com host/reporter. Proud USC graduate in a CA state of Mind. Dodgers, Lakers, Broncos, Trojans and Kings fan! I have a million jobs, but you guys are my first priority <3 Tweet me @EHernandezTV. SUBSCRIBE: www.youtube.com/DodgersNationTV

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  1. Elisa before you get to carried away you need a little prospective. While Kershaw is one of 3 best of this generation and those are stunning stats, until these guys start 40 games, complete 20 of them and pitch 300 plus innings, you can’t compare them to the real great pitchers of the past. It’s hard to imagine what numbers most hall of fame r would have accomplished pitching 30 games and 200 innings,  knowing they only had to pitch 7 innings.

  2. nodrog60 It’s a different game these days nodrog.  Back when pitchers were starting and completing well over 50% of the games they started it was completely different.  Pitchers didn’t throw as hard, and breaking balls with extraordinary break were not as common at all.  It was more about changing speeds, putting movement on your fastball, and pitching to contact.  This is evidenced by the extraordinarily low K/9 rates seen in past great pitchers like Walter Johnson, CY Young, Dizzy Vance, etc.  There is only ONE pitcher on the above list that posted a top K/BB rate: CY Young, who, in 1905, still only posted a 5.89 K/9, but had the great K/BB rate because he only walked 0.84 batters per 9IP.  Perspective again, Kershaw is striking out 11.31 per 9IP and walking only 0.54 per 9IP this year.  Another example, Bob Gibson, who in 1968 posted a 1.12 ERA, and struck out 268 batters, still only posted 7.92 K/9 IP and a 4.32 K/BB.  It was around the 1970s and 1980s when pitchers start completing less than 50% of the games they started.  You look at the changes from the 60s with Gibson, Koufax, Drysdale, Ford, Marichal, and Perry, who all completed around or over 50% of the games they started, to the 70s, it is pretty staggering.  The rise of the reliever and closer in the late 60s and 70s shortened baseball games.  Managers saw no need to keep running their starters out there all 9 innings and watching their stuff deteriorate.  Instead they had options to go to the bullpen with specialized pitchers that were very good at their craft.  

    By the time you reach the 1980s, and 1990s when names like Clemens, Johnson, Martinez, Maddux ELITE pitchers were only completing maybe 20% of games they started.  Maddux had the highest number of complete games with 331 starts and 75 complete games – a 22.7% ratio.  Randy Johnson seems to have the highest ratio of that elite group in that time period.  Either way, complete games are for the most part gone because of the intense focus on pitch counts, and the specialization of relief pitchers.

  3. Good comments yarritsblake with some truth but Koufax,  Gibson,  Drysdale, mariichal perry palmer, we’re all flamethrower, elite pitchers  completing half their games.I also don’t remember arm injuries like we do today (Koufax was arthritis) the guys in the 60s and i70s threw many more innings. Something is wrong with that picture. Stand by my comment that these guys would have had a field day if they knew they only had to go hard for 6/7 innings, 30 times a year.

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