13 mind-blowing Clayton Kershaw facts from his magical 2014 season
Clayton Kershaw continued his brilliant season on Sunday, pitching eight innings against the Giants while striking out nine and walking one for his league-leading 19th victory of the season. Unfortunately, Kershaw surrendered two runs raising his ERA from 1.66 to 1.70. The bum.
The lefty with the perfect ping-pong serve looks to be a near-lock to not only win his third NL Cy Young Award in four seasons, but to take home the NL MVP too. If he had to turn in a resume listing his qualifications, he would need to use the back of the page ... and then maybe email over an addendum or two.
So, without even mentioning (you know, except for right here) his no-hitter, or that he's gone 20 consecutive starts without walking more than two batters, or his 41 inning scoreless streak, or that if you removed his 1 2/3 IP, 7 R start against the Diamondbacks his ERA would be 1.37 -- here are thirteen other mind-blowing facts about the Dodgers left-hander:
- Only nine other starters since 1920 have posted an ERA below 1.70. The last to do so: Greg Maddux in 1995.
- Kershaw's WHIP is 0.826. Only five pitchers have posted a lower number over a full season: Pedro Martinez, Walter Johnson, Addie Joss, Greg Maddux and Ed Walsh.
- Since the start of 2013, Kershaw has thrown 421 innings with a 1.77 ERA. Over that time, the next lowest is Jose Fernandez, nearly half a run worse at 2.25 (and over only 224 1/3 IP).
- Kershaw's H/9 is 6.1. The last two pitchers to post a lower number: Jose Fernandez in 2013 and Pedro Martinez in 2000.
- Batters are hitting just .190 against Kershaw this year. Again, the last two pitchers to have a lower number: Jose Fernandez in 2013 and Pedro Martinez in 2000.
- Kerhaw's FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching, a statistic that looks to remove the amount of luck a pitcher may receive) is 1.86. That's the fifth-lowest since 1920, behind only Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, Dwight Gooden and Pedro Martinez.
- Kershaw's ERA+, a statistic comparing a player to the league average, is 211. The last starter to do that was Roger Clemens in 2005. Only 24 pitchers have had a higher ERA+ in baseball history.
- Kershaw's career H/9 is 6.7. The only pitcher with a lower career rate is Nolan Ryan at 6.5.
- Kershaw is on pace to lead the National League in ERA for the fourth straight year. The last pitcher to accomplish that was Sandy Koufax from 1962 - 1967.
- If Kershaw finishes the season with an ERA below 2.00, he will join Sandy Koufax, Pedro Martinez, Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens and Hal Newhouser as the only pitchers with multiple sub-2.00 ERA seasons since 1920. Only Koufax managed to do it in three separate years.
- According to FanGraphs, Kershaw's fastball and slider are the best in the league, rated at 19.7 and 21.5 runs above average per 100 pitches respectively. His curveball is a pedestrian ninth at 6.5.
- Kershaw has faced only 693 batters this season in 185 1/3 IP. That's the 26th fewest among qualified pitchers, despite Kershaw pitching at least 17 more innings than any of the pitchers in front of him. For those who don't feel like doing the math, that's an absurd 3.7 batters per inning.
- Among pitchers after 1920 in their first seven years, Kershaw is 5th in strikeouts, 2nd in ERA, 2nd in ERA+ and 4th in BAA.
Though it hasn't been announced yet, Kershaw is next due to take the mound (and possibly set some new records) on Friday against the Cubs. If you live in Chicago, I'd suggest running out to pick up some tickets.