In his first Major League start since March 22, Clayton Kershaw appeared as though he hadn’t been off the mound for nothing more than his normal rest. Kershaw struck out nine and shutout the Washington Nationals in seven innings. The Nationals would score three runs on the Dodgers’ bullpen, but the team still managed to get Kershaw his second win of the season.
With the nine strikeouts, the two-time Cy Young Award winner now has 1,222 for his career and moved into 10th place on the Dodgers’ all-time strikeouts list, jumping five ahead of Nap Rucker, who pitched 10 seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Kershaw is in his seventh season with the Dodgers and has recorded four consecutive seasons with at least 200 strikeouts. The lefty’s season high in strikeouts was in 2011, when he tallied 248 en route to a 21-5 record and claiming his first Cy Young Award. The 248 strikeouts was enough to rank Kershaw first in the National League in 2011 and he again finished in first place among NL pitchers with 232 last season.
Along with leading the NL with strikeouts during 2011 and 2013, Kershaw posted the best ERA mark in all of baseball from 2011-2013. Since joining the Dodgers pitching rotation on a regular basis, Kershaw has been looked upon to lead the staff. Putting the pitching staff on his back for much of the last three seasons, the Dodgers rewarded the left-hander with a seven-year, $215 million contract in the off-season, in a deal that was surprisingly fair for both parties.
First on the Dodgers’ all-time list is Don Sutton with 2,696 strikeouts. While Kershaw won’t surpass Sutton this season, it’s likely he will move into ninth all-time, needing just 71 more strikeouts to pass Bob Welch. Should the reigning Cy Young Award winner record another season of 200 or more strikeouts, he could climb as high as seventh all-time before the season ends.
Dodgers Pre Game: Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw And Yasiel Puig