Baumann: Clayton Kershaw and the modern pursuit of 300 strikeouts

From SABR member Michael J. Baumann at Grantland on October 1, 2015:

Clayton Kershaw is a magnificent pitcher, unequaled even among his contemporaries, who are the biggest, strongest, hardest-throwing, best-trained generation of pitchers in the history of the game, and who enjoy the most favorable set of playing conditions for pitchers in 30 years.

Kershaw, still only 27, is already among that special class of active player whose only barrier to Hall of Fame enshrinement is service time. He is a snowflake made out of plutonium.

Until this week, I’d have written and filed those two paragraphs twice a week, every week of the year, if my editor would let me, because what else was there to say?

But as of Tuesday night, there’s new evidence of how special Kershaw is. With a chance to clinch the Dodgers’ third straight division title — against Madison Bumgarner and in San Francisco, no less — Kershaw delivered a masterpiece, allowing one hit and one walk in a complete-game, 104-pitch effort. Most significantly, he fanned 13 Giants, giving him 294 strikeouts on the season.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: October 1, 2015. Last Updated: October 1, 2015.