Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw on the verge of Dodgers’ southpaw history
By beating the Miami Marlins on Wednesday evening, Dodgers’ southpaw Clayton Kershaw tied Sandy Koufax in career wins at 165 each.
Clayton Kershaw has set plenty of franchise records in his illustrious career with the Dodgers and he is on the verge of another. In Wednesday’s victory over the Marlins, Kershaw tied Sandy Koufax for fifth in Dodgers’ history with 165 wins. Among the top five, the rest are all right-handed pitchers so with his next victory, Kershaw will lead all Dodgers’ southpaws in career wins.
Clayton had already passed Sandy Koufax in career strikeouts earlier this season to add to his career accolades. A few other categories that Kershaw leads Koufax in are ERA, WHIP, WAR, and strikeouts per nine innings. Clayton even leads Koufax in hits per nine innings by the slimmest of margins. While that could change as Clayton continues his career, it’s impressive nonetheless.
While Sandy Koufax’s career will always have an asterisk of sorts due to his early retirement, he has still been regarded as the best lefty pitcher in Dodger history until Clayton Kershaw came along. Now Kershaw is setting the precedent that other left-handed pitchers will aim for in the decades to come. Of course, the one thing Kershaw still would like is a World Series ring.
The Dodgers will give Clayton a shot at a World Series ring for the duration of his current contract as the current core will be intact for at least two more seasons. Aside from Justin Turner and Joc Pederson who can become free agents after next season, the majority of the Dodgers’ position players are going to be in blue for the next two years.
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Although his fastball velocity is no longer in the mid-90s, Kershaw has adjusted by throwing his fastball less and his slider more often. After being primarily a fastball-curveball pitcher early in his career, he has used the curve just 16.9% of the time this season. The only thing left for him to accomplish is hammering out a changeup although he may not need it just yet.
After last night’s outing, Clayton Kershaw now has the fourth-lowest ERA in MLB at 2.63. He has quietly put together a solid season after giving the Dodgers a scare in spring training. Aside from Hyun-Jin Ryu’s career season, Kershaw has been the club’s most consistent starter going at least six innings in every start this season.
Kershaw even flashed a bit of his vintage self against the Marlins as he struck out seven batters to begin the game. While it’s to be determined if he will the team’s second or third starter in the playoffs, it is a great problem for the Dodgers to have. They lead MLB in starter’s ERA and will have the best playoff rotation in baseball this October.
Clayton Kershaw is still one of the game’s best pitchers despite not having the ability to throw a fastball in the mid-90s. This October he will play a big part in determining if the Dodgers finally capture that WS title that has been long overdue.