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Putting Kershaw's feats into perspective

7/11/2014

Clayton Kershaw saw his incredible scoreless streak snapped after 41 innings Thursday against the Padres, but he did finish with 11 strikeouts and his eighth straight win. So how dominating has Kershaw been? Grantland, with the help of ESPN Stats and Information, put together a piece detailing 22 "jaw-dropping" facts about his streak and his astounding season. Among them:

* Kershaw didn’t catch Orel Hershiser, but he did tie for the fifth-longest consecutive scoreless innings streak of the expansion era (since 1961).

* During his 41-inning scoreless streak, Kershaw faced 146 batters and allowed just three extra-base hits. All three of those came from the Cardinals on June 29 … a game in which Kershaw tossed seven scoreless innings and fanned 13.

* Only three of the 146 batters that Kershaw faced during the streak reached third base. Two of those three got on base thanks to an error.

* Kershaw faced 19 batters with runners in scoring position during the streak. In those 19 tries, not one batter hit the ball out of the infield.

* For the year, Kershaw has now struck out 126 batters and walked 13 in 96.1 innings, netting a 9.7-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In the past century, only two qualified starting pitchers have posted better K/BB rates: Bret Saberhagen in 1994 (11-to-1) and Cliff Lee in 2010 (10.3-to-1).

* One instructive way to measure pitcher performance is with Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), which focuses on the things a pitcher can best control, like strikeouts, walks, and ground ball rate, rather than the things influenced by defense and luck. FIP runs along a similar scale to ERA, so 5.00 and higher is bad, 3.00 and under is very good, and 2.00 and under is fantastic.

Kershaw’s FIP is currently 1.58. If that holds up, it’ll be the second-lowest mark for any starting pitcher in a century.

You can read Jonah Keri's full piece on Grantland here.