This past weekend, several historic occurrences occurred. On Saturday night, Jose Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels blasted his 600th home run. Earlier that day, the Miami Marlins' Edinson Volquez threw the sixth no-hitter in franchise history against the Arizona Diamondbacks.In Milwaukee, while the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers were playing
This past weekend, several historic occurrences occurred. On Saturday night, Jose Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels blasted his 600th home run. Earlier that day, the Miami Marlins' Edinson Volquez threw the sixth no-hitter in franchise history against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
In Milwaukee, while the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers were playing the first-place Brewers, the Dodgers had three significant pitching records.
Clayton Kershaw, who is considered as the best starter on the planet, collected his 2,000th strike out Friday. After a first-inning double and a walk, Kershaw retired 20 consecutive hitters before allowing a solo home run by Domingo Santana. Kershaw had 14 strikeouts in seven innings.
Kershaw is the fifth youngest pitcher in Major-League history to reach the 2,000th strikeout milestone. He made his Major League debut on May 24, 2008 against the St. Louis Cardinals. He didn't win his first Major League game until July 27, 2008 against the Washington Nationals. At 20, Kershaw featured a mid-90 mph fastball and a large rainbow curveball, but he hadn't developed a changeup. He tended to nibble at the strike zone. Wanting to protect his valuable left arm, Dodger management had Kershaw on a strict pitch count, which Kershaw didn't like.
Kershaw has developed a slider and a cutter since his rookie season. He always attacks the strike zone in hopes of being allowed to pitch a complete game.
Kershaw already has a Hall of Fame-worthy career at 29, but he isn't satisfied with what he has done. He has won three NL Nation League Cy Young Awards. He has one of the lowest WHIPs in Major League history. He allows the second lowest hits per nine innings in Major League history. Every time he takes the mound, there is a possibility of a no-hitter even though he has only one in his career. Everyone in baseball is amazed at Kershaw's consistency and knows we are witnessing something we haven't seen before or probably won't see again in our lifetimes.
On Friday the Dodgers established a Major League record when their pitching staff fanned 26 Brewers in 12 innings. Although the Brewers, a young team, are stunning the baseball world by leading the NL Central Division, they lead the NL in strikeouts.
The most important move the Dodgers made this past offseason was giving Kenley Jansen a five-year $80 million contract. Since his debut in 2010, Jansen has become one of the premier closers in the game. He has developed an extraordinary unhittable cutter to go with his high-90s fastball.
Jensen always has had marvelous control, enabling him to be the Dodgers' franchise saves leader. Nevertheless, no other Major League pitcher ever has begun a season with 40 strikeouts and 0 walks. Last October when he pitched 2.1 innings in Game 5 in the NLDS against the Nationals to help to propel the Dodgers into the NLCS, many knowledgeable baseball people thought Jansen's performance in 2017 would suffer. The opposite has been true. Jansen seems more determined to succeed so he can help the Dodgers return to the postseason and hopefully go to the World Series.
It's an exciting time to be a baseball fan, particularly a Dodgers fan.
Sarah D. Morris can be reached at email@example.com.