The term GOAT and Clayton Kershaw will never been seen in the same sentence again. To gain the title of one of the greatest pitchers of all time a player must have a superb regular season resume, a bunch of awards and accolades, and individual postseason success. I say individual because it is impossible to pin a team losing because of one guy in baseball, that is unless your Clayton Kershaw. For years I have said despite his struggles in the postseason, this guy may be the best pitcher the game has ever seen. I mean his regular season numbers will have you salivating looking at your screen.
Above are three stats which truly tell how much of a marvel it has been to watch Kershaw year in and year out. Yeah we can just say he’s great by mentioning his 2.44 career ERA or how he will definitely hit 3K strikeouts before he hangs up his cleats, but to truly show his dominance we will discuss these three. In this seven year stretch he led the league in ERA+ 4 times, and it would have been five if he wasn’t injured in 2016. This stat measures a pitchers ERA by comparing it to the league average, and also takes into consideration different ballparks to negate hitter or pitcher friendly ballparks. ERA plus goes hand and hand with FIP which measures a pitchers ERA if defense wasn’t involved. It is utilized to tell how effective a pitcher really is without his defense helping his cause, or in some cases screwing him over. It looks at the three true outcomes a pitcher is faced with being a homer, a strikeout or a walk. Kershaw is know for his incredible strikeout to walk ratio, and his ability to limit homers(non existent the past 3 seasons), which is why he led in FIP twice and has posted a sub 2.50 5 times in the seven years. Lastly Kershaw has flashed his dominance by leading the league in WHIP four season in a row. In the seven years he has posted a WHIP under 1 six times, and in 2016 was on pace to have the best single season WHIP of all time with a .725. The man simply did not allow baserunners, and that drove him to winning an MVP, three Cy Youngs, and a Triple Crown. So why has a pitcher this dominant, this glorified, be ineligible of the title Greatest of All Time?
At first glance most people without seeing the name would say, “who is this scrub”. That scrub happens to be Clayton Kershaw. Some people just don’t have the nerve for big games, I get that but the greatest pitcher of all time is supposed to get it done in October. Throughout his career Kershaw has shit the bed once meaningful baseball starts, and the numbers are reminiscent of Matt Harvey, after he left New York that is. As his team goes deeper into the playoffs Kershaw seems to get worse; as both his ERA and WHIP rise in every series. The 3.99 in the NLDS is not ideal, but would be forgivable if he redeemed himself in the next round. Unfortunately thats not the case as he goes on to put up a 4.61 in NLCS series. When his team is on the cusp of making it to the final stage, Kershaw is of no assistance. Prime example last year versus the Brewers where he gave up 5 runs in 3 innings in a loss at home. Then finally on the biggest stage of it all Kershaw proves that the word clutch is not a part of his vocabulary. Embarrassed by the Astros in game 5 of the 2017 Fall Classic, and then got the Dodgers hearts ripped out from Boston getting slapped twice by them in the same series. Then last night happened. Last night has officially marked that Clayton Kershaw cannot be trusted in the postseason. Up by 2 in the 8th they bring him in to shut the Nationals down; fans celebrating as if it was over and then Kershaw struck once again. Rendon and Soto go back to back on two straight pitches to do the unthinkable, and the crowd fell silent. It became apparent then that Kershaw was never and will never have the ability to close it out for his team, as once again the Dodgers were left heartbroken. Last night as crazy as it was has solidified the fact that Kershaw is not the greatest pitcher of all time, but merely a choke artist.
Published by Fran