2. He’s Nearly the Best 7-Inning Shutout Pitcher in Wild Card Era
Longevity? Yeah, Kershaw can still get you that in spades.
In the modern “Wild Card” era, it’s rare for a pitcher to give you 7+ on a given day, and the pitchers of the past may scoff at this statistic, but Kershaw’s supposed reputation as a five-and-fly guy as he’s gotten older definitely does not hold water.
On Wednesday, the lefty completed seven innings or more without allowing a single run for the remarkable 55th time in his career (at age 33, remember). That puts him third in the Wild Card era, behind only Randy Johnson and Tim Hudson — who only outflank him by two and one, respectively.
Kershaw should catch both men by the end of the year, if not the end of the month. Chalk this one up as another record we didn’t expect Kershaw to hold, but one that he should make distinctly “his” by the time his career wraps up.
Robbed of a full season in 2020, which hurts for resume-building purposes, our ace didn’t add any of these to his docket whatsoever. In 2021, he’s only added Wednesday’s effort so far.
But using the years since his final Cy Young as our guide, Kershaw has averaged 3.4 starts of seven or more shutout innings per season as he’s aged. In 2015? He posted seven of them, with three coming in a row during a July stretch against the Phillies, Nationals and Mets we should never forget.
That streak featured two complete-game shutouts and an eight-inning affair, highlighted by 13, 14 and 11 strikeouts. Today’s aces don’t know what it’s like to be Clayton Kershaw…unless, of course, they are Clayton Kershaw.