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.
Scott Kazmir won’t begin the regular season in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Manager Dave Roberts said after Kazmir’s Cactus League outing on Sunday that it “doesn’t make sense” for the ailing Kazmir to break camp in the rotation, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. The lefty will instead rehab some more and join the rotation at a later time.
Kazmir has been battling a hip issue which has caused his mechanics to suffer. He was clocked in the low 80’s 10 days ago and wasn’t much better on Sunday afternoon.
Last season with the Dodgers, Kazmir posted a 4.56 ERA with a 134/52 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings, his worst numbers since returning to the majors in 2013.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Robert Gsellman has won the No. 4 spot in the Mets’ starting rotation. He adds that the Mets are likely to play things cautiously with lefty Steven Matz. The fifth and final rotation spot will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo.
Gsellman, 23, has had a great spring. The right-hander has allowed three earned runs on 15 hits and four walks with nine strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings. That is on the heels of seven solid starts at the end of the 2016 season during which he yielded 12 earned runs on 40 hits and 12 walks with 40 strikeouts in 41 innings.
Matz, 25, is dealing with irritation in his left elbow. He had surgery in October to remove a bone spur and was a Tommy John patient several years ago. It sounds like the Mets are leaning towards having him start the season on the disabled list.
Wheeler, 26, isn’t having a great spring. He’s surrendered seven runs in 7 1/3 innings. Lugo has given up three earned runs in seven spring innings and also looked solid in the World Baseball Classic although he took the loss in the final against the United States.