The shape of his career may mirror Seaver's, although the ages don't align precisely.
Seaver was dominant from '69 to '73 (age 24-28), great from '74 to '81 (29-36), and then he tacked on a few years where he was still reasonably effective relative to the league (37-41). There are some blips in there, but you can more or less identify three phases.
Kershaw's dominant phase stretches from 2011-2017 (age 23-29). Maybe last year was the beginning of his merely-great phase.
― clemenza, Saturday, 3 November 2018 14:52 (one year ago) link
Sinking feeling he's going to take the Koufax parallels too far.― clemenza, Monday, July 24, 2017 10:33 AM (one year ago)
I want to strangle the guy who named this thread.
― clemenza, Saturday, 23 February 2019 16:45 (eleven months ago) link
don't feel too bad, it happens to pretty much all of them. :(
― Karl Malone, Saturday, 23 February 2019 16:53 (eleven months ago) link
Per Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times, manager Dave Roberts says Kershaw has ceased throwing after feeling that something was amiss following a bullpen session. Roberts termed it an "arm kind of thing" and gave no timetable for a return to throwing. Kershaw will, however, take part in his usual non-throwing workouts.
yikes, an arm kind of thing.
― Karl Malone, Saturday, 23 February 2019 16:54 (eleven months ago) link
in the words of Jeff Sullivan, "Pitching is bad, don't do it."
― a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 23 February 2019 17:00 (eleven months ago) link
well, his season debut is tonight. i would love to see him be able to have a couple more solid seasons
― The immortal Hydra Viridisimma (outdoor_miner), Monday, 15 April 2019 15:39 (ten months ago) link
Yeah, I’m thinking of going.
― John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, Monday, 15 April 2019 19:23 (ten months ago) link
There are at least two prominent historical precedents where guys recreated themselves and went from overpowering strikeout pitchers to...I don't know--location and guile: Luis Tiant and Frank Tanana. Must be others. If he can do that, maybe he can put in six or seven more productive years.
― clemenza, Monday, 15 April 2019 19:49 (ten months ago) link
cc sabathia is a good example--obviously he never returned to his late '00s, early '10s heights, but he's been effective for the past few seasons.
― to halve and half not (voodoo chili), Monday, 15 April 2019 20:08 (ten months ago) link
Was surprised to see him go 7 tonight (I assume he won't be out for the 8th), but only 84 pitches.
― clemenza, Tuesday, 16 April 2019 04:19 (ten months ago) link
Clayton Kershaw just became the most productive Dodger in history:64.8 WAR Kershaw64.4 WAR Sutton63.4 WAR Sniderhttps://t.co/thNx6cFPvl— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) August 7, 2019
― mookieproof, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 15:27 (six months ago) link
This is almost at the level of Babe Ruth hitting the home run for the hospitalized kid on the shamelessly cornball scale, but I got a kick out of it anyway.
― clemenza, Thursday, 8 August 2019 22:51 (six months ago) link
"Before long, Kershaw will have lost even more fastball velocity. Time wounds all heels, and no one can outrun it forever. For a month, however, Kershaw has turned back the clock. He’s made a simple adjustment that makes batters’ lives harder, and for now that’s enough."
― a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 9 August 2019 04:17 (six months ago) link
Passed Koufax in wins last night. 12 seasons each:
Kershaw - 166-71, 2.41, 159 ERA+, 4.27 K/BB, 2.70 FIP, 1.006 WHIP, 3 Cy YoungsKoufax - 165-87, 2.76, 131 ERA+, 2.93 K/BB, 2.69 FIP, 1.106 WHIP, 3 Cy Youngs
Koufax's Cy Youngs were across both leagues, but the number of extra teams that involved was only a handful.
― clemenza, Wednesday, 21 August 2019 16:58 (five months ago) link
Also: big WAR advantage to Kershaw (65 to 53), big postseason advantage to Koufax (only a third as many innings, though).
― clemenza, Wednesday, 21 August 2019 17:01 (five months ago) link
kershaw a better hitter, but it's a pretty low bar
― mookieproof, Wednesday, 21 August 2019 17:16 (five months ago) link
I don’t think we’ll get anywhere, but I’ll give this another go.
But it's a 'season' that has lasted 12 years (so far) and he literally is not the same kind of pitcher now as he was at the beginning. So, not a season.― a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius)
Tried to get my head around this and couldn’t. We’re comparing two sets of numbers: Clayton Kershaw, regular-season pitcher, vs. Clayton Kershaw, postseason pitcher. The particulars of how and when they were compiled seem beside the point to me, because it’s the same guy and the same time-frame. Anytime you make a general statement about a guy’s career, you’re talking about that player at many different stages of that career. But you don’t start chopping up the career into smaller segments for the purpose of...I don’t know what the purpose would be. “Willie Mays was a great baseball player”--that’s a general statement that encompasses the 1951 Willie Mays, the MVP of ’54 and ’65, and the barely-hanging-on gate attraction of 1973. The statement stands, though--you don’t need to clarify it any more than that, just like I don’t see any need to start micro-analyzing the statement “Clayton Kershaw has been a mediocre postseason pitcher” (and don’t really get why you’re so invested in doing so).
As for the "pressing" theory, when he threw 8 scoreless against ATL last year in the DS last year, why didn't he press that night?
As I wrote in the same post, I don’t know what’s behind Kershaw’s postseason troubles--the pressing theory is just that, a theory that makes sense to me. It wouldn’t preclude the occasional good or even great outing, though.
― clemenza, Friday, 11 October 2019 13:21 (four months ago) link
Kershaw does have some pretty amazing company on one list:
Worst ERA when facing elimination (Min. 20 IP):
Tim Wakefield - 6.75Clayton Kershaw - 5.77Roger Clemens - 5.28Pedro Martinez - 5.17
(Not sure how many innings you're talking about with Clemens and Martinez--I'm guessing Kershaw's logged a few more.)
― clemenza, Friday, 11 October 2019 13:30 (four months ago) link
“Clayton Kershaw has been a mediocre postseason pitcher”
Overall, that is a true statement, and I don't think anyone is saying otherwise.
― a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 11 October 2019 16:25 (four months ago) link
and Willie Mays had his best postseason at age 40
so hang on for redemption, Clayton.
― a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 11 October 2019 16:29 (four months ago) link
Conversely, I've never once used words like "choker" or "character" as an explanation for any of this--you kind of implied that that's where I was coming from last year, and it's simply not true.
I posted something similar yesterday; assuming he's around for another five or six seasons, I think Kershaw will eventually have a postseason similar to Price's last year (which I loved).
― clemenza, Friday, 11 October 2019 16:46 (four months ago) link
no clem, I'm caricaturing the sound of the mob (ie the worst online Dodgers fans). sorry if you thought otherwise.
― a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 11 October 2019 16:47 (four months ago) link
Kershaw 2.0 is definitely a different player than Kershaw 1.0, his curveball is flatter and hangs a bit more in the strike zone. His new pitch (slurvy-slider) doesn't have enough zip, and his fastball is uh...
― Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 11 October 2019 17:43 (four months ago) link
someone somewhere was noting that his fastball and slider are now only 3mph apart -- throwing a harder fastball seems unlikely, but perhaps slowing down the slider would do enough to upset timing
― mookieproof, Friday, 11 October 2019 18:44 (four months ago) link
(xpost) Fair enough.
I read that he's held in such high esteem by his teammates, they were going above and beyond when it came to consoling him.
― clemenza, Friday, 11 October 2019 19:09 (four months ago) link
Interesting piece for a couple of days ago:
It falls about halfway on things we've been kicking around here: important metrics that are almost the same for him in the regular- and post-season (strikeout and walk rate), one that's much worse (HR).
It does give credence to the idea that it may be tied in with "the little voice in the back of your head":
That’s the math of the situation; it can’t change the feeling, though, the little voice in the back of your head that says “Hey, are you ready for this?” every time Kershaw pitches in October. And if the voice is in your head, you can be sure it’s in Kershaw’s too, every time he gives up a home run or a chain of singles. Is this all luck? Could it possibly be luck? How can it keep happening to me? Am I tipping my pitches? Pressing too hard? Not pressing hard enough?
Saying that someone might be pressing is, to me, just the flip side of saying clutch-hitting doesn't exist. (Which I agree with, although I'd allow that there are probably very isolated cases of players who do consistently perform well under pressure--an argument for somewhere else.) Sabermetrics doesn't buy clutch-hitting because a) the evidence isn't there, and b) why would it be?--you'd have to believe that athletes have some magical ability to change their abilities at key moments. But I also believe that athletes don't have magical abilities to not fall prey to something very human: that doubt creeps in when you don't succeed a few times in the same situation. It doesn't mean that you don't occasionally succeed--get a big hit, pitch a good game--just that the doubt lingers if you also keep back-stepping, and continues to linger until you definitively close that door, like Price did last year. I don't think Kershaw has done that yet. But I think he will at some point.
― clemenza, Sunday, 13 October 2019 18:15 (four months ago) link
Believing in clutchness doesn't have to be tied in to a belief that someone can do it over an extended period of time. Someone can be clutch on a given day, where they do something they might not have done on another day because they were in a different frame of mind or they told themselves definitively, "I am going to do this now and I am not going to take no for an answer." I think that kind of stuff happens all the time.
― timellison, Sunday, 13 October 2019 23:06 (four months ago) link