Getty Images

Clayton Kershaw reaches career milestone with 2,000 strikeouts

10 Comments

For those who have gotten distracted by Chris Sale‘s remarkable strikeout streak or the one-two punch of Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, Clayton Kershaw is here to reclaim the spotlight. The Dodgers’ ace set down 14 strikeouts against the Brewers on Friday night, the fourth of which marked the 2,000th whiff of his 10-year career.

That’s spectacular for any pitcher, let alone one who is nine months shy of 30 years old. It’s fast, too — so fast, in fact, that Elias Sports Bureau lists only two major league hurlers who have recorded 2,000 strikeouts faster than Kershaw: Randy Johnson (1,734 innings) and Pedro Martinez (1,715 1/3 innings). By comparison, Kershaw did it in 1,836 innings.

Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts praised Kershaw’s precision and focus en route to the 2,000-strikeout record, while hinting that No. 3,000 might come even faster. Via MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick:

Not only does he care about the big picture, but he stays so micro-focused on today. When it’s all said and done, I’m sure 2,000 will be a lot closer to 3,000. He’s a great pitcher and for me to be a part of his journey is great.

Hitting that 3,000-mark might still be far off, but he’ll need just 214 more strikeouts to tie Sandy Koufax for third-most in franchise history and 696 to eclipse franchise strikeout leader Don Sutton.

If the southpaw hasn’t looked like his usual self lately, that’s partly because the bar is set so high. He’s coming down from a season in which he posted a 1.69 ERA, the lowest of his career, paired with an 0.7 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 149 innings. Through the first two months of the 2017 season, his 1.9 fWAR is the sixth-best among major league starters, while his 2.37 ERA (entering Friday’s game) ranks fourth alongside the White Sox’ Derek Holland.

Brewers claim Stephen Vogt off waivers from the Athletics

Brian Blanco/Getty Images
Leave a comment

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported on Sunday that the Brewers claimed catcher Stephen Vogt off waivers from the Athletics. Vogt was designated for assignment by the Athletics on Thursday.

Vogt, 32, was an All-Star in each of the last two seasons, but struggled this year. He hit .217/.287/.357 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 174 plate appearances.

With the Brewers, Vogt will likely split time behind the plate with Manny Pina. Meanwhlie, the Athletics’ catching situation will be handled by Josh Phegley and Bruce Maxwell.

Dallas Keuchel is unlikely to return before the All-Star break

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Astros’ left-hander Dallas Keuchel might not return to the rotation before the All-Star break, Houston manager A.J. Hinch told reporters prior to Sunday’s game. The club placed their star southpaw on the 10-day disabled list on June 8, retroactive to June 5, after a nerve issue was revealed in his neck.

Keuchel has taken a conservative approach to his recovery over the last several weeks, and while he appears to have made some progress, still has yet to throw off the mound. The injury interrupted the start of an outstanding run with the Astros, during which the 29-year-old lefty furnished a 9-0 record with a 1.67 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 through his first 75 2/3 innings of 2017.

According to Hinch, it’s certainly possible that Keuchel could return to the team sometime within the next two weeks, but it’s clear that the team would prefer to play it extra safe with their ace. Even assuming that he feels ready to reclaim his spot on the Astros’ pitching staff, he still needs to complete a few key activities before competing in another game — like throwing off a mound, for example. In the meantime, Lance McCullers Jr. will continue to head Houston’s rotation as they try to build on their 12.5-game lead in the AL West.

 

Hinch’s full comments are below: