Coming into the season there were many around baseball that felt Clayton Kershaw was no longer the ace of the Dodgers pitching staff, especially with the emergence of the young Walker Buehler. There were also those within the Dodgers fanbase that lost faith in his ability to start.
The Dodgers have an abundance of young upcoming arms such as Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May, just to name a few, who can give an aging Kershaw a run for his money. And while the southpaw has certainly had his fair share of road bumps the past couple of years, he has no intention of being left behind. Thursday night, No. 22 took the mound and carved up the Mariners as if he had something to prove to not only everyone watching, but to himself as well.
A dominant performance that saw Kershaw give up only 4 hits, a walk, and a home run in seven innings of work, also saw him punch out 11 Mariners en route to passing Don Drysdale for the second-most strikeouts in team history.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) August 21, 2020
Over the course of 4 starts, the Texas native has compiled a record of 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA, 29 strikeouts, and a 0.79 WHIP. What really stands out is that he’s limited hitters to a .174 batting average so far this season. The lone loss was an ugly one to the San Francisco Giants where he allowed 4 runs (3 home runs) in only 4.1 innings of work. Kershaw definitely has a home run problem (5 this season) but that will happen to pitchers who pound the strike zone. Many of today’s top pitchers such as Max Scherzer and Gerrit Cole have suffered the same fate.
Going back to the young guns, May has given the baseball world plenty of highlights to drool over and has immense potential. However, Big Red needs to pitch more efficiently as he allowed his pitch count to run up more times than not. Tony Gonsolin was a late arriver to camp this year and was ultimately left off the roster to start the season. Despite that, the cat man has given the Dodgers elite production this season. So much for a guy who was destined for the bullpen. There’s little doubt that Walker should be the next in line to replace Kershaw should he leave after next season or when he retires. Yet, 2020 just hasn’t been his year.
The sky is the limit for these young arms and they’ll get their chance. However, until their time arrives, Kershaw is still top dog in these parts. And while his best may be in the past, he’s still showing why he’s the ace of the staff while he’s around.