Stats & Info: Ron Guidry

Kershaw keeps elite statistical company

August, 27, 2013
AP Photo/Jeff RobersonClayton Kershaw has made things difficult for opposing hitters throughout 2013.
Clayton Kershaw looks to keep his amazing 2013 going when the Los Angeles Dodgers face the Chicago Cubs tonight.

Kershaw's history against the Cubs is stellar-- he's made four starts against them and allowed two runs or fewer in each.

But what about Kershaw and big-picture history?

With the help of, here’s a snapshot of where Kershaw stands in statistical history with what is likely six starts left in his season.

Amazing ERA
Kershaw enters with a 1.72 ERA. In the last 30 seasons, only two pitchers have qualified for the ERA title with an ERA that low at season’s end: Dwight Gooden (1.53 for the New York Mets in 1985) and Greg Maddux (1.56 in 1994 and 1.63 in 1995, both with the Atlanta Braves).

It is extraordinarily rare for a left-handed pitcher to finish a season with that low an ERA. In baseball’s live ball era, the only one to do so was Hall-of-Famer Carl Hubbell, who had a 1.66 ERA for the 1933 New York Giants. The last before him was Rube Marquard, who posted a 1.58 ERA for the 1916 Brooklyn Robins (who became the Dodgers).

Also rare: for a southpaw to finish with that good of an ERA relative to his league. Baseball-Reference tracks ERA+, which measures that, adjusting slightly for his primary ballpark.

Kershaw’s ERA+ is currently 207 (his ERA is 1.72, the NL ERA is 3.74). Only three lefties since 1900 have had an ERA+ that good, the last being Ron Guidry (208 for the 1978 New York Yankees). Only one of those three was a National Leaguer—Jack Pfiester for the 1907 Chicago Cubs (216).

Opponents are hitting .182 against Kershaw this season. The last ERA-title qualifying pitcher to finish a season with that low an opponents’ batting average was Pedro Martinez (.167) for the 2000 Boston Red Sox.

The last lefthander to do so was a former Dodger, though only for a few moments: Sid Fernandez (who made two appearances for the 1983 team) held hitters to a .181 batting average for the 1985 Mets.

There have been six pitchers in the divisional era (since 1969) that finished a season with an opponents’ batting average that low. The only Dodgers pitcher among them was Hideo Nomo, whose was also .182 in his rookie season, 1995.

For those looking to make the inevitable comparison to Sandy Koufax, the Dodgers legendary lefty had one season with an opponents’ batting average that low, 1965, when opposing hitters batted .179 against him.

And if you prefer OPS to batting average, Kershaw’s currently stands at .495. Only three pitchers have held opposing hitters below .500 since Bob Gibson and Luis Tiant both did so in the Year of the Pitcher, 1968: Nolan Ryan (.496, 1981 Houston Astros), Maddux (.482, 1995 Braves), and Martinez (.473, 2000 Red Sox).

The Whiffs
Kershaw currently has 188 strikeouts and it seems inevitable he’ll reach 200, perhaps as soon as tonight.

He would become the third Dodgers pitcher to record at least four straight seasons with 200 or more strikeouts, joining Koufax (six straight from 1961 to 1966) and Don Drysdale (four straight from 1962 to 1965).

Scoreless Streak
Lastly, perhaps it’s wishful thinking, but Kershaw enters tonight with a 16-inning scoreless streak. If he throws seven scoreless innings of each of his next six starts, he’ll match Don Drysdale for the second-longest scoreless streak in major-league history.

And he would be one inning shy of Orel Hershiser’s record streak. That streak began 25 years ago Friday.
Today’s Trivia: If David Price wins, he will join Jon Lester and CC Sabathia with 18 wins. All lefties, all in the AL East. The last time three AL East left-handers won 18 games was 1979. Can you name the three lefties?

Quick Hits: Just 10 days after their epic matchup, Sabathia and Price are at it again. Both pitchers went eight scoreless innings in the first one, so what are some fun things to look for this time around?

Sabathia" Sabathia is 11-1 at home this season. He could become the first New York Yankees pitcher to finish 12-1 at home since Ron Guidry in 1978. The last AL pitcher to go 12-1 at home was Curt Schilling for the 2004 Boston Red Sox.

• Sabathia is 19-1 when receiving at least three runs of support.

• Sabathia tied for the AL lead with 19 wins last season, and is on his way to a solo title in 2010. The last Yankee to lead the league in wins in back-to-back seasons? Sorry, it’s never happened before!

• A win would give Sabathia 40 over the past two years. The last Yankees pitcher with 40 wins over two seasons was Tommy John, who won 43 in 1979 and 1980.

Price" Price has faced 183 left-handed hitters this season without allowing a home run. That’s the most for an AL pitcher since Kevin Brown faced 184 for the 2005 Yankees. Before that, you have to go back to Scott Schoeneweis (217 in 2001).

• Price is 8-2 with a 2.16 ERA against AL East opponents this season. Those numbers are unprecedented in the wild-card era. The last pitcher with eight wins and an ERA below 2.20 against the AL East? Kansas City Royals pitcher Kevin Appier, who was 11-2 with a 1.60 ERA against the AL East in 1992. Oddly, he was just 4-5 with a 3.74 ERA against his own division.

• Only Fausto Carmona (1.52) has a lower ERA than Price (1.55). But more amazing is the fact that Price is holding opposing hitters to a .133 batting average this month. The last AL starter to do that in September was Ken Hill in 1997, when he held opponents to a .126 average.

Today’s Leaderboard: Bad news for leadoff hitters. Hitters in the one-spot are batting .160 against Sabathia and .174 against Price, who rank second and fifth, respectively, in that category.

Key Matchups:
Carlos Pena is 0-for-6 with 5 K’s against Sabathia this season. In fact, he’s fanned 19 times in 35 at-bats against the big lefty, so it’s no surprise that he’s not expected to be in the lineup Thursday. His likely replacement is Dan Johnson, who is 5-for-9 against Sabathia in his career, though the two haven’t faced each other since 2007.

Derek Jeter entered this season with just one hit in 10 career AB against Price, but is 4-for-10 this year. Other Yankees haven’t had the same success in changing their luck. Jorge Posada is now 1-for-15 lifetime, though that one hit did come this year. Curtis Granderson is 1-for-8 with 5 K’s this season, and is now a .154 career hitter against Price.

Trivia Answer: In 1979, Mike Flanagan went 23-9 on his way to the Cy Young. The other two AL East southpaws were both Yankees: Tommy John (21-9) and Ron Guidry (18-8).

1st Pitch: AL Cy Young race

September, 13, 2010
Today’s Trivia:
Felix Hernandez is 11-7 in 27 quality starts this season after going 19-1 in them last season. Who is the only pitcher this season with at least 15 quality starts and a losing record in those games?
Quick Hits:
With David Price and CC Sabathia set to face each other on Monday, what better time to dive into the numbers of American League Cy Young contenders?

• With four starts likely remaining, Felix Hernandez has a fair shot at 250 strikeouts (he needs 36). Yet, he’s still just 11-11. The fewest wins for a pitcher with 250 strikeouts and an ERA below 2.40 is 15 by Sam McDowell in 1968. He went 15-14 for the Indians despite a 1.81 ERA and 283 strikeouts. That was 16 fewer wins than Cy Young winner Denny McLain.

• King Felix is 5-0 against AL East teams with a 0.55 ERA. That includes two wins apiece against the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, three coming on the road. However, he plays in the AL West, a division against which he is 1-6 with a 4.42 ERA. Amazingly, if you take away his divisional games, Hernandez is 10-5 with a 1.33 ERA.

• When allowing two or three runs, Hernandez is 2-6. Meanwhile, Sabathia is 8-3, while Price is 8-5.

• The poor defense behind Hernandez has resulted in 17 unearned runs, which is the most in the AL. Price and Sabathia have seen just eight unearned runs scored against them.

• Since June 1, Sabathia is 15-3 with a 2.62 ERA. No other pitcher has even 13 wins in that span.

• With 19 wins, Sabathia could be looking at 22 or 23 wins if all goes to plan. The last AL pitcher with 22 wins to lose out on the Cy Young was Dave Stewart in 1990, but he had to contend with teammate Bob Welch (27 wins). The last player to lead the AL with at least 22 wins and not take home the award? Ron Guidry, a fellow Yankee, went 22-6 in 1985, but Bret Saberhagen (20-6) won.

• Sabathia may be getting better support than Hernandez, but 18 of his 19 wins have come in quality starts. He is 1-4 in non-quality starts.

• But what if Price has something that Sabathia and Hernandez don’t? Namely 20+ wins and an ERA below 3.00. Over the last 30 years, only once has an AL pitcher with both of those lost the Cy Young to an AL starter who did not. In 2003, Esteban Loaiza (21-9, 2.90) lost out to Roy Halladay (22-7, 3.25).

• Meanwhile, opponents are slugging .303 against C.J. Wilson, the lowest for an AL starter since 2002 (Derek Lowe). The .590 OPS against Trevor Cahill is the lowest since Johan Santana (.565) in 2004.

Today’s Leaderboard:
Not only does he lead the league with 27 quality starts, but Hernandez has 20 starts of at least seven innings and allowing two ER or fewer. Jered Weaver (16) is the only AL pitcher with more than 15. Sabathia has 13, while Price has 9. Over the last two seasons, Hernandez has 41 such games, which is 13 more than the next AL pitcher (Sabathia).

Key Matchups:
A pair of the top AL Cy Young contenders square off on Monday, as CC Sabathia tries to wake up the Yankees against David Price and the Tampa Bay Rays. According to Elias, it’s the first time in seven years that two AL pitchers with at least 17 wins and 150 strikeouts have faced each other.

Sabathia is looking to become the first 20-game winner in the majors. The last Yankees pitcher to do that was Ron Guidry in 1978. Sabathia is 8-4 with a 3.08 ERA in his career against the Rays. However, since joining the Yankees, he’s just 1-3 with a 4.23 ERA. Let’s see how he stacks up against some of the Rays’ top bats:

Carl Crawford has a hit in four of his last six at-bats against Sabathia after hitting .238 against him before that.
• Over the last two seasons, Carlos Pena is 0-for-11 against Sabathia with nine strikeouts.
• Of Evan Longoria’s five career hits off Sabathia, two are doubles and two are home runs.

Price is 1-1 with a 7.11 ERA against the Yankees this season. Against everyone else he is 16-5 with a 2.55 ERA. In his first start after the break, he allowed seven earned runs against New York. However, it should also be pointed out that Price has won both career starts at home against the Yankees. Let’s take a look at some key matchups:

Derek Jeter has hits in three of his last four at-bats against Price. He was just 1-for-13 prior to that.
Jorge Posada is just 1-for-13 against Price with six strikeouts.
Mark Teixeira is just 2-for-13, but Price has never struck him out.

Trivia Answer:
Hiroki Kuroda is just 6-8 in his 19 quality starts this season. Overall, the Los Angeles Dodgers are 10-9 in those games.