Clayton Kershaw shuts down Marlins, lowers ERA to 1.72

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Clayton Kershaw did what you’d expect him to do against the lowly Marlins this afternoon, tossing eight shutout innings versus a lineup featuring two guys slugging above .385.

In doing so Kershaw lowered his ERA to 1.72, which would be the fourth-lowest among all pitchers with 150 or more innings since the mound was lowered in 1969:

Dwight Gooden     1985     1.53
Greg Maddux       1994     1.56
Greg Maddux       1995     1.63
CLAYTON KERSHAW   2013     1.72
Pedro Martinez    2000     1.74
Ron Guidry        1978     1.74

Also of note: Dating back to 1969 the only left-handed pitchers with 150-plus innings and a sub-2.00 ERA are Ron Guidry, Vida Blue, Wilbur Wood, John Tudor, and Steve Carlton. This is the third straight season in which Kershaw has led the National League in ERA and his career mark of 2.61 is the lowest of any starting pitcher in the post-1969 era.

Cardinals tab Miles Mikolas for Opening Day start

Miles Mikolas
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The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.

The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.

Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.