The Red Sox
Czerwiec 11, 2019
The Yankees have made multiple moves ahead of the trade deadline.
Czerwiec 13, 2019

NEW YORK Clayton Kershaw’s game scoreSunday night was 73. If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry, it’s a simple stat, devised by Bill James, that begins at 50 and goes up or down depending upon what a starting pitcher does.What you need to know is that 73 is very good, as can be surmised from Kershaw’s line against the Mets: 7.2 innings, four hits, two earned runs, no walks, 10 strikeouts, one home run allowed. In the major leagues this year, 8.3 percentof starting pitchers have recorded a game score of 73 or better. For Kershaw, a game score of 73 represented the median of his 11 starts he’s had five better, five worse.MORE: Greatest individual pitching performances in MLB historyThis is where Kershaw is now: Aperformance better than what you would see from a major league starter 91.7 percent of the time is, for him, a ho -hum kind of outing.Tonight, I had some three-ball counts, Kershaw said after a 4-2 win for Los Angeles in which he did not factor in the decision after Adam Liberatore served up a game-tying triple to Curtis Granderson in the eighth inning, bringing home the first bequeathed runner Kershaw has allowed all season. I got some swings outside the strike zone, which was great and very fortunate.There were four times Sunday whenKershaw went to a three-ball count, which for him represents a crisis of control. In 86 2/3 innings, Kershaw has gone to three balls on 36 batters, i suing walks to five. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is a thoroughly ludicrous 21. Not two-to-one, but twenty-one. Sunday was Kershaw’s seventh double-digit strikeout game in his past eight starts, and he has a total of 105 punchouts for the season.When you put it in context 2-to-1 is a pretty good strikeout-to-walk ratio, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. Now you’re looking at (21)-to-1? That’s something you can’t imagine.The major league record for strikeout-to-walk ratio was set two years ago by Phil Hughes, who had 186 whiffs for the Twins while i suing 16 free pa ses, a ratio of 11.63. Kershaw is nearly doubling that, and in his past seven startshis ratio is a thoroughly unreal 37.5, with 75 strikeouts and two walks.Seventy-five strikeouts and two walks! Now, to be fair, Kershaw’s ERA has gone up slightly in those seven starts, from 1.50 to 1.56, because that run does include the five-run beating the left-hander took in his only lo s of the season, on April 26 against Miami.MORE: Best left-handed pitchersin MLB historyBack in 2014, when Kershaw was named Sporting News Player of the Year in a vote of his major league peers, he said, You can always get better. If you’re not, someone else is. It was easy to take that as simple humility, a pledge to keep working hard, because how could you Jackie Bradley Jr Jersey really improve on going 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA, 239 strikeouts and 31 walks in 198 1/3 innings, a WHIP of 0.857 and six complete games?Kershaw went out last year and struck out 301. This year, he is dominating to such an extent that when he gives up two runs, it’s a letdown. He is making Jake Arrieta, the reigning Cy Young winner who is 9-0 with a 1.72 ERA, appear to be almost human. There is reason to bring up the single greatest pitching season in the history of the game.Kershaw is the first pitcher since Roy Halladay in 2009 to open a season with 11 straight starts of seven innings or more. Go back another nine years before thatand remember how Pedro opened his historic 2000 campaign.In his first 11 starts, Martinez went 9-2 with a 0.95 ERA, striking out 114 and walking 16 in 85 1/3 innings, with three homers allowed. Right now, Kershaw is 7-1 with a 1.56 ERA, 105 strikeouts and five walks in 86 2/3 innings, with four homers allowed.Martinez wound up going 18-6 with a 1.74 ERA, 284 strikeouts and 32 walks in 217 innings, with 17 homers allowed that year. There have been other seasons with better numbers in all the categories, but given that Martinez did it in 2000, at the peak of hitting in the integrated history of baseball, his season stands above the rest.That Kershaw can even involve himself in such a conversation shows what he meant by continuing to improve. When you already are the best in the game, the next thing to reach for is being one of the best ever. While Kershaw did not get a win Sunday night, he continued to show all of baseball exactly what he can be.

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