It didn’t take long for Clayton Kershaw to make history in his second start of the 2015 season. With two strikeouts in the first inning and his third of the game in the second, Kershaw moved into sole possession of fifth place on the Los Angeles Dodgers’ all-time strikeouts list.
Now with 1,457 career strikeouts, it shouldn’t be long until Kershaw passes Fernando Valenzuela (1,759) for fourth place. Since debuting with the Dodgers in 2008, Kershaw has recorded at least 100 strikeouts in each season.
In 2011, when Kershaw won the first of his three Cy Young Awards, he led the Majors with 248 strikeouts, which still holds as his career high. That season was also the second in what’s been a string of five consecutive years where Kershaw’s had at least 212 strikeouts in a season.
Last season the Dodgers’ ace set his single-game career high with 15 strikeouts against the Colorado Rockies as part of a no-hitter. The historically dominant outing had a 102 Game Score, which equates to the greatest no-hitter in the modern era — not much of a surprise given it was a Hanley Ramirez error from being a perfect game.
Kershaw’s 2014 MVP season featured several prolific strikeout games from the left-hander. He reached double digits in seven of his 27 starts and had at least nine strikeouts in 15 starts. While Kershaw is closing in on Valenzuela, he’s got some work ahead of him to break into the top three, where Don Sutton (2,696 strikeouts), Don Drysdale (2,283) and Sandy Koufax (2,214) rank.
However, at just 27 years old, Kershaw would need to pitch roughly another six seasons averaging 200 strikeouts in each to move to the top of the list.