In the minors Gerrit Cole’s strikeout rate never quite matched his excellent raw stuff, as the former No. 1 overall pick totaled a modest 114 strikeouts in 133 innings between Double-A and Triple-A.
After being called up to the Pirates in June he continued to miss an underwhelming number of bats, managing just 29 strikeouts in his first 49 innings and failing to whiff more than five batters in any of his first eight starts.
Lately, however, Cole has started racking up strikeouts. Today he whiffed a dozen Padres in six innings, which gives Cole a total of 65 strikeouts in 63 innings since July 28. Overall this season he has a 3.23 ERA and 94/27 K/BB ratio in 111 innings while allowing just seven homers as a 22-year-old rookie, which is one of many reasons why the Pirates’ success is likely to continue long past this season.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.