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?
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.