Clayton Kershaw is still the best pitcher on the planet


Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw was somewhat human in the first half, posting a 2.85 ERA in 18 starts, and the three-time Cy Young winner was initially left off the All-Star team before being added as a last-minute replacement.

That was in July, but it seems like a distant memory because since then Kershaw has resumed being an unhittable strikeout machine. He tossed seven innings of one-run ball Monday night against the Rockies, improving to 9-0 with a 0.98 ERA in 13 starts since July 1.

Going back even further, Kershaw has a 1.26 ERA and 191/22 K/BB ratio in 150 innings since late May, holding opponents to a .172 batting average over the span of 20 starts and four months. Overall this season he leads the league in innings (208) and strikeouts (264) while posting a 2.12 ERA that’s right in line with his combined 2.11 mark from 2011-2014.

Kershaw may not win a fourth Cy Young award because of a slow start to the season and great performances from rotation-mate Zack Greinke and Cubs ace Jake Arrieta, but he remains the best pitcher on the planet at age 27.

Orioles option LHP Bruce Zimmermann to minors

Brent Skeen-USA TODAY Sports

SARASOTA, Fla. – The Baltimore Orioles have optioned left-handers Bruce Zimmermann and Nick Vespi and reassigned infielder Lewin Díaz, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez and catcher Mark Kolozsvary to minor league camp.

The Orioles announced the moves Monday.

Baltimore’s spring training roster now has 46 players.

Zimmermann made 13 starts last season. He went 2-5 with a 5.99 ERA.

The competition for rotation spots with the Orioles has been a significant story during spring training, but after the team acquired Cole Irvin and Kyle Gibson in the offseason – and with top prospect Grayson Rodriguez in the mix as well – there were a lot of pitchers Zimmermann needed to beat out.