Was Clayton Kershaw good for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2019? Honestly — without looking up his statistics, what does the narrative in your head say?
Spending an abundance of time on social media, the pervasive sense is that he is slipping (which is accurate). However, to the point that he’s nearing “average,” which couldn’t be further from the truth).
Yes, Kershaw’s velocity is slipping. Yes, he is no longer the same guy that led the Majors in ERA for basically a decade and was a shoe-in for the Cy Young’s top-three every year.
But he’s still really freaking good.
For the first time since 2008 (his rookie season), Kershaw’s ERA rose above 3.00 — all the way to 3.03, good for the 10th-best mark in all of baseball.
His 16 wins tied for the fourth-best mark of his career, while his 178.1 innings pitched were the most he has thrown since 2015. It’s also worth noting that Kershaw’s K/9 rate was up almost an entire strikeout from 2018.
Of course, none of that will be remembered because of what transpired with Clayton Kershaw in the playoffs — and in Game 5 of the National League Division Series in particular. Not to open up old wounds, but let’s just remember that manager Dave Roberts deserves infinitely more blame than Kershaw for everything that happened there.
On Aug. 14 the Dodgers faced Miami Marlins, and, well, Kershaw treated them like a Minor League team. He did so the tune of seven innings, two hits and 10 strikeouts. All in all it was vintage Kershaw, and a reminder that while he isn’t elite every single time he takes the mound, he still has something special in him.
With news of Hyun-Jin Ryu joining the Toronto Blue Jays, it means that Kershaw is firmly entrenched as the Dodgers’ No. 2 starter behind Walker Buehler.
Now entering age-32 season (he’ll turn 32 in March), the Dodgers will rely on Kershaw to hang on for another year or two while they wait for Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin and Julio Urias to make the jump.
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