Clayton Kershaw’s latest masterpiece got me thinking about where he ranks among the best pitchers in baseball. And not just this season, but during the past 2-3 years.
In three seasons as a full-time member of the Dodgers’ rotation Kershaw has posted ERAs of 2.79, 2.91, and now 2.72, with 564 strikeouts compared to just 389 hits allowed in 521 total innings.
Here’s how his ERA ranks among all MLB starters with at least 500 innings since 2009:
Felix Hernandez 640 2.59
Roy Halladay 637 2.60
CLAYTON KERSHAW 521 2.82
Tim Lincecum 574 2.93
Chris Carpenter 564 2.99
Some pretty decent company, huh?
Kershaw is the only guy on that list without a Cy Young award, although with the way he’s pitching that could change this season. When he doesn’t start the Dodgers are 30-47, yet Kershaw is 11-4 with a 2.72 ERA and league-leading 167 strikeouts in 146 innings. Oh, and he’s also 23 years old.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.