Clayton Kershaw’s latest start came against the Mets on Sunday night in a rematch from last postseason’s divisional round.
Kershaw was predictably brilliant, which might be the kindest thing you can write about a pitcher. He located his fastball to both sides of the plate and diced the Mets’ lineup with his curveball and slider. Though he wasn’t able to record his fourth shutout of the month and ended up with no decision, he did hold the Mets to two runs over 7 2/3 innings. Kershaw also recorded 10 strikeouts without no walks — and accomplished much of that after hitting himself in the neck with a broken bat.
That last note is crucial for historic purposes. Per the ESPN broadcast, Kershaw reached 100 strikeouts on the season with the fewest walks in modern history. Describing his strikeout-to-walk ratio as “video-game-like” is inaccurate; he’s well into “obscure pitchers from long-forgotten leagues” territory:
All those pieces you’ve read about whether Kershaw is on the greatest pitching run of all-time are merited. After Sunday’s gem, his seasonal numbers sit at 86 2/3 innings, a 1.56 ERA, and a 21 strikeout-to-walk ratio — that’s 21 Ks for every walk. He hasn’t pitched fewer than seven innings in a start this season, and were it not for the Asdrubal Cabrera solo shot midway through this game, he would’ve escaped May without allowing a home run. That’s unnatural.
So what else can we do but muse and ponder whether Kershaw is indeed the best pitcher of all-time — or, at least, if he’s currently acting out that role? One thing’s for sure: no team is going to muster much offense when he’s on the mound. If only the Dodgers’ bullpen were half as reliable, Kershaw would have a win to show for his Sunday night efforts.