Last time he tossed a no-hitter that could have easily been a perfect game. This time: eight scoreless innings where he allowed nothing but singles while striking out eight batters and walking only one. It’s safe to say that Clayton Kershaw is taking things to a whole other level.
Kershaw now has an 8-2 record, a 2.24 ERA, and has struck out 94 guys while walking only nine in 72 and a third. In June, he is 5-0 with a 0.97 ERA and only two walks to 48 strikeouts. Just crazy.
Kershaw is actually better now than he was in his two Cy Young seasons and the last three years in which he has led the league in ERA every time. How? He’s now turned into an extreme groundball pitcher, which gives the opposition even less of a chance to do damage against him than before. Over his career his groundball to flyball ratio is 1.26. This season: 2.77. Maybe it’s flukey, but it’s certainly impressive.
Someone got bent out of shape last week when I compared Kershaw to Sandy Koufax. Tell me: how is that comparison anything but apt?
Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.
Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list
Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.
Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.
Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).
While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.