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He May Be Getting Old, But Clayton Kershaw Can Still Pitch Effectively

Clayton Kershaw-22

If you thought that Clayton Kershaw was finished as he entered his twelfth season with the Dodgers in 2019 then think again. The Dodgers defeated the New York Mets 9-2 at Citi Field on Friday night as Kershaw notched his fourteenth win of the season tossing 6.1 innings to improve his record to 14-5 in 2019. Kershaw demonstrated that even in his advanced age and twilight of his career that his skills still translate. He can still pitch effectively. He can still give the Dodgers quality starts.

Kershaw has always dominated the Mets. After the win on Friday night, Kershaw is now 10-0 versus New York entering Friday night’s contest carrying a 2.14 career ERA against the Mets before his win on Friday. He’s unbeaten in 15 starts against the Mets which also includes a 4-0 record at Citi Field. The Dodger’s bats got him plenty of support including a pair of home runs from rookies Gavin Lux and Edwin Rios. Kershaw tossed 6.1 innings allowing two earned runs on four hits while striking out five against three walks.

Despite his declining velocity Kershaw has managed to turn in a solid campaign in 2019 putting many of his naysayers to rest. Many people believed that Kershaw’s days were numbered, perhaps hinting that his pitching career was coming to an end let alone his days as one of the best pitchers in baseball. However Kershaw has proven them all wrong by using a combination of deceptive arm slots, strong pitch sequencing, impressive command and strong movement. His off-speed pitches, especially his infamous curveball have been his strengths this year.

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In Kershaw’s 26 starts this year he has pitched into the sixth inning in all but two of them. Not only that but he’s allowed more than three earned runs in only four of those outings. Kershaw has shown that he is still very durable throwing 165.1 innings. Overall he is 14-5 with a 3.05 ERA and 176 strikeouts against 39 walks. He’s allowed 7.4 hits per nine and has struck out 9.7 per nine while posting just 1.4 walks per nine.

Kershaw has proven that even when facing old age (31 years old) and diminishing velocity that you can still reinvent yourself. That’s exactly what he has done. He’s been very consistent this year and he can still get outs. Other than a couple of bad outings, he’s been very dependable. Surely he’s not as dominant as he was during his peak years. He’s not going to win the Cy Young award this season. But Kershaw can still pitch, and he can still give the Dodgers a solid 6 or 7 innings. That’s all we can ask of him these days.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

4 thoughts on “He May Be Getting Old, But Clayton Kershaw Can Still Pitch Effectively

  1. I’ll have to say, Kershaw’s season has somewhat been “stealthy”. A respectable season, but well below the high bar he has set for himself.

    Throughout Clayton’s career he has been so dominant. So, when he struggled this season, Kershaw was not used to it, and he showed so much negative emotion on the field, that the fans bought into it, and their shock turned into disappointment. Every time he fell behind in the count, gave up dinger and early leads, or, lasted only 5 or 6 innings, fans could see he was disappointed in himself, and fans naturally followed suit. Kershaw expected more, so the fans did, as well.

    All the while, we forget that in many games, he did not get the offensive or defensive support, or relief pitching he needed, especially after premature, early exit. He has still been able to obtain a respectable 14-5 record, and 3.05 ERA. Obviously not the Kershaw dominant numbers we had grown accustomed to, but numbers which many pitchers would be proud of, and teams would be satisfied with.

    Face it, Dodger fans have been spoiled by Kershaw, and expect perfection from him every time he takes the mound. His huge contract does not help, as fans expect him to earn it, and I am sure Kershaw has self imposed pressure to prove he is worthy of the big paycheck. His below radar performance just shows how much he has carried this team on his shoulders in years past.

    One positive could be that because he has been so “stealthy”, he can surprise us all in the playoffs, and shake off those post season “blews”. There will definitely be less weight on his shoulders. Fans will not be expecting Clayton to carry this team. Just think….Dodgers got 96 wins “without” a dominant Kershaw.

  2. Kershaw’s season is pretty remarkable.

    Top 10 in MLB for ERA, WHIP and wins.

    I just think he’s been overshadowed by Ryu and by the deserved focus on the team’s player development and rookie showings.

    It’s a bit of media fatigue more than anything.

    1. Bluto
      Not only is Kersh remarkable. He is a Hall of Famer and rightly so. People take away credit from him because he has lost some velocity but he is a pure pitcher who knows how to get people out. I am happy that he has stayed in L.A. and that I had the good fortune of watching him pitch for my team.

  3. An epic pitching battle between two Cy Young candidates. The difference being the bullpens.

    deGrom was tough and made the Dodgers look silly, but Ryu was up to the challenge. So, here is the Million Dollar question…. did DR pull Ryu too soon? I think Ryu could have gone at least one more inning. Roberts wastes another quality start. DR just loves to micro-manage, and tries to play the matchups with his raggedy ass bullpen. With this bullpen, you never know what you are going to get, so playing matchups is a crap shoot. This time it backfires big time…. you just cannot give up free baserunners. Two HBP and a walk is totally unacceptable, and the Mets wasted no time cashing them in.

    The Mets’ pitching staff kept the weary Dodger offense at bay, with 12 KO’s, 0-3 RISP and just three scattered hits.

    So once again, we see problems that will haunt the Dodgers in October…. lackluster offense (too many KO’s and wasted scoring opportunities), and DR over-managing the ragged bullpen. deGrom is a prime example to the type of quality pitchers they will be facing in the playoffs, so it does not look good.

    Yanks clobber the Rays, Braves clinch a playoff spot.

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