It’s easy to take it for granted at this point, but just how good is Clayton Kershaw? I’ll leave a complete analysis to the baseball historians and statistical gurus, but this might be the best season yet for the Highland Park High School graduate.
The Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander won his 20th game of the season yesterday as the Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 14-5 at Wrigley Field. It wasn’t the best outing for Kershaw by far, as he gave up three runs in the first inning, but it clinched a playoff spot for the Dodgers.
Still, the 20-win milestone is becoming more rare in this era of expanded rotations and bullpen specialists. In fact, yesterday Kershaw became the first pitcher to reach 20 wins in his first 26 starts in a season since Pedro Martinez of the Red Sox in 1999. He leads the league with a 20-3 record, a 1.80 earned-run average, and six complete games. He’s 17-1 in his last 20 starts, for crying out loud.
In other words, it’s not a stretch to say that he’s having the best season of his already decorated career — one that already includes two National League Cy Young awards. A third is almost certainly on the way.