Every time Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw takes the mound, there’s a pretty good chance that fans are going to witness the 29-year-old Dallas, Texas native either set or break some kind of record. In fact, when the Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies by a score of 4-2 on Wednesday night in front of 45,474 at Dodger Stadium to give Kershaw his third win of the season, he improved his record to 87-0 when given four or more runs of support … EIGHTY-SEVEN AND ZERO!
Let that sink in for a moment. I mean, there are pitchers who go their entire careers without 87 wins, let alone losing none, even when given a four-run lead.
But would you believe that there is better pitching than even future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw this season?
Okay, that’s a bit misleading. When I say better pitching, I’m talking about a group of pitchers, not just one – the Dodgers bullpen.
Through his first four starts thus far this season, Kershaw is 3-1 with a 2.54 earned run average. He has allowed a total of nine runs on 19 hits with an MLB-best 28 strikeouts in his MLB-leading 28.1 innings pitched.
Collectively, the Dodgers bullpen of Messrs. Luis Avilan, Pedro Baez, Grant Dayton, Josh Fields, Chris Hatcher, Kenley Jansen, Sergio Romo, Ross Stripling and Alex Wood have allowed a total of eight earned runs in their combined 54.1 innings pitched for an absolutely mind-boggling 1.33 ERA.
Now granted, comparing relief work to starting pitching is like comparing apples and oranges. But the point here is that all three of Kershaw’s wins thus far this season – in all of which he received four or more runs of support – came with help from a Dodgers bullpen that is currently ranked second in all of baseball behind only the New York Yankees bullpen, which has a combined 1.27 ERA but has thrown 11.2 fewer innings than the Dodgers bullpen.
While it is often said that “Misery loves company” – so too does greatness.