Clayton Kershaw reached a milestone in his last start at Dodger Stadium. He started the game at 197 strikeouts and quickly struck out the side in the top of the second inning – all on curveballs – to earn his 200th strikeout on the season.
While these numbers seem to be expected of the ace every season, he has now struck out at least 200 batters in six consecutive seasons, the only other Los Angeles Dodger to do so was Sandy Koufax in 1961-66. He also tied Koufax and Don Drysdale with the most seasons in Dodger history with 200 or more strikeouts.
Despite joining an elite group, Kershaw did not seem fazed at being compared to the great left-hander. “It’s cool when you get to be associated with those guys obviously,” Kershaw said. “Not the most important thing in the world, but it’s definitely an honor to be associated with those guys for sure.”
Tom Seaver holds the record for most consecutive seasons with at least 200 strikeouts with nine. In fact, along with Seaver, Walter Johnson and Roger Clemens are the only other two pitchers ahead of Kershaw.
As of now, Kershaw is set to break his personal single-season strikeout record. While his record is currently at 248 from 2011, he is projected to strikeout almost 300 batters this season.
The left-hander has had a much better season than his record and ERA shows. He has personal bests in FIP (2.18) and K/9 (11.39) as well as ground ball percentage (52.8%). His 2.19 SIERA (Skill Interactive ERA) leads the Majors.
Kershaw has many accolades through his eight seasons in the majors. So far, he has three Cy Young awards, one MVP award, the 2011 NL pitching Triple Crown, and five All-Star appearances, among countless other honors and awards.