Numbers Support Argument For Kershaw Being Best Pitcher In Baseball

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On May 17 Clayton Kershaw had one of the worst starts of his seven-year career — second worst to be statistically accurate; the worst of his career was a 1.1-inning start in 2010 against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Kershaw allowed seven runs to the Arizona Diamondbacks as he seemingly hung one breaking ball after another. The two-time Cy Young Award winner didn’t make it out of the second inning and looked the part of a pitcher attempting to find his way in the league.

The loss left Kershaw with a 2-1 record and 4.43 ERA through four starts. Since that point, the left-hander has gone 8-1 with a 0.97 ERA and held hitters to a .160 batting average.

Kershaw went 1-1 over his final two starts in May, which became a distant memory as he put together a remarkable June. Coinciding with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ improved play, Kershaw began a personal streak June 2 and hasn’t relented.

He earned a win in each of his June starts and finished 6-0 with a 0.82 ERA — becoming the first Dodger pitcher to win six games in one calendar month since Hideo Nomo did so in 1995.

En route to winning each of his starts, Kershaw accumulated 61 strikeouts in 44 innings while only issuing four walks and hasn’t allowed a run in 36 consecutive innings — setting a new career-high and now including one start in July.

Kershaw’s scoreless streak ranks third all-time in Los Angeles franchise history, behind Don Drysdale’s 58 and Orel Hershiser’s 59 consecutive shutout innings. A key component in Kershaw keeping opponents off the scoreboard has been his ability to keep the ball on the ground.

The left-hander currently holds a 58.3 percent ground ball rate, up from his career best of 48 percent. Kershaw’s strikeout rate is also up from his previous high of 27.2 percent to 34.3 percent.

Next Page: Kershaw’s Dominance

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