20 July 2009

Kershaw Countdown

Let's have a look at some numbers from Kershaw's Saturday box score, counting down from 103 to the number that trumps them all.

103 -- pitches made

There was little question that he would throw about 100 pitches on Saturday, and that through most of them he would be effective. The question was, how far would those 100 pitches take him?

66 -- strikes thrown

They keep track of pitches thrown and strikes thrown at Dodger Stadium, which is very handy, especially when Kershaw is pitching. He was above 67% strikes for most of the game, only faltering a bit late. Early on when it looked like he might struggle to even go six innings Kershaw's big pitch totals didn't come from balls but from too many foul balls.

7 -- innings pitched

This is the number that impresses the most. I didn't think he would make it to seven for most of the night. A fifth inning double play really helped him.

5 -- strike outs

Only five. An off-game for Kershaw? God help the National League hitters if that was an off-game.

2.95 -- earned run average

Below three. Appropriate, since right now Dodger fans <3 Kershaw.

2 -- hits

And at least 4 line outs. You can certainly say that Kershaw was lucky, but not that he was lucky to do well. Why? See the next number.

1 -- walk

This is why Kershaw could have seen some of those line drives fall in and still succeed. Even if he allows 6 hits instead of 2, that's just 7 base runners spread through six or seven innings. ( He probably couldn't have gone seven if those hits had fallen in and he had to pitch to all those extra batters. ) Right now Kershaw has a margin of error to walk hitters because he's so unhittable --- but if he can stop walking hitters, then he has a margin for error in hits falling in. And if he's both unhittable and throwing strikes? What then?

0 -- runs allowed

A brief detour down to zero, before he head on back up to another way of saying "one" to finish the countdown. Kershaw had allowed zero runs in 5 of his last 7 starts.

Ace -- Kershaw's status

Ladies and gentlemen, your pitching ace of the 2009 Los Angeles Dodgers, Mr. Clayton Edward Kershaw.

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