Reigning National League MVP and three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, walked to the mound on Sunday afternoon six strikeouts short of reaching 300 strikeouts in a single season.
Well within Kershaw’s grasp was joining an elite club of pitchers and becoming the first to reach that benchmark since Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson did so as teammates with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2002.
As far as the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise is concerned, the last Dodger pitcher to hit to the coveted mark was Sandy Koufax, who did it in 1963, 1965, and 1966.
After fanning five of the first seven San Diego Padres, Kershaw spun his patented curveball to Melvin Upton Jr. with two strikes and two outs in the third inning. Upton Jr. swung and miss, giving Kershaw 300 strikeouts on the season.
The Dodgers’ ace received a standing ovation as he walked off the field, which he acknowledged with a tip of his cap. Kershaw collected one more strikeout in the fourth inning before being removed, and finished first in the Majors in both strikeouts and innings pitched.