Kershaw still the man for the Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw stands and delivers a two-hit, eight strikeouts outing against the San Diego Padres on Opening Day. The Dodgers defeated the Padres 14-3 at Dodger Stadium. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline.com

The 2018 World Series was not the finest hour for Los Angeles Dodgers pitching ace Clayton Kershaw. The Boston Red Sox beat the Dodgers in five games, rolling to a 4-1 walkover. Kershaw, the heart and soul of the Dodgers’ back-to-back trips to the World Series, got whacked in Game 1 and could not finish Game 5. In Game 1, Kershaw gave up five earned runs in seven innings as the Dodgers dropped an 8-4 defeat to Boston.

In Game 5, Kershaw went the same seven innings but gave up four earned runs in the Rex Sox’s clinching 5-1 victory at Dodger Stadium. In two outings, Kershaw absorbed two defeats. Critics have decried that Kershaw is not the same pitcher he once was.

The Dodgers think he is. That’s why they signed their star pitcher to an extension contract, solidifying his stay with the ballclub for a couple of more seasons.  The three-time Cy Young Award winner and the Dodgers reached an agreement on a contract extension that will keep the seven-time All-Star with the club through 2021.

Ace Clayton Kershaw attend the Dodgers 3rd Annual Blue Diamond Gala on Thursday, June 8, 2017. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline.com

Kershaw, 30, made 26 starts for the Dodgers this season going 9-5 with a 2.73 ERA (49 ER/161.1 IP) and striking out 155 batters against just 29 walks. He also held the opposition to a .227 batting average, while posting a 1.04 WHIP and collecting 20 quality starts.

Despite missing some time with two different stints on the disabled list earlier in the season, the southpaw finished the 2018 campaign ranking among National League pitchers with at least 25 starts in strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.34, 3rd), ERA (4th), WHIP (4th), opponents’ on-base percentage (.264, 4th), quality starts (T-6th), opponents’ OPS (.630, 8th) and opponents’ batting average (11th).

The 2014 National League Most Valuable Player completed his 11th big league season with the Dodgers (2008-18) this past year and in 318 career games (316 starts), Kershaw has gone 153-69 with a 2.39 ERA and has struck out 2,275 batters against 557 walks.

Since the start of the live ball era in 1920, he has the lowest all-time career ERA and WHIP (1.00) among starting pitchers with more than 1,500 innings pitched, while his opponents’ batting average (.207) ranks third, behind only Nolan Ryan (.204) and Sandy Koufax (.205). Kershaw was originally selected by Los Angeles in the first round (seventh overall) of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft out of Highland Park High School (TX).

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