Clayton Kershaw’s Dominance Matches Up Quite Well With Pedro Martinez –

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Clayton Kershaw’s Dominance Matches Up Quite Well With Pedro Martinez

It’s difficult to not be mesmerized by what Clayton Kershaw is doing right now.

The Los Angeles Dodgers ace is truly in the middle of establishing himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball history. Not just in the last five years, 10 years, 20 years or even 50 years. In the incarnation of baseball as we know it now, Kershaw’s one of the best to ever do it.

Kershaw’s dominance never ceases to amaze, even though we’ve seen him to do this for the last six seasons. The National League ERA leader in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 is off to another dazzling start, punctuated by another gem Monday night.

The three-time Cy Young winner held the Cincinnati Reds at bay Monday night, tossing a tidy, two-hit shutout, striking out seven and walking one in the Dodgers’ 1-0 win. It was Kershaw’s third shutout of the season — all this month — lowering his ERA to 1.48 in the process.

He’s been especially dominant in his last three outings, including Monday, as he’s allowed just one earned run over that time. That’s pretty ridiculous.

Here’s how the rest of Kershaw’s numbers over those three starts — against the Mets, Angels and Reds — have looked.

26 innings pitched
9 hits allowed
1 earned run
2 walks
31 strikeouts
0.35 ERA
.107 batting average against
69 percent strikes
88 average game score

Pretty, pretty good.

Kershaw quickly is becoming the standard by which all current great pitchers are measured, and he’s going to be the standard by which pitchers who come after him are measured by. But it’s also fun to look back at how Kershaw’s most recent run of dominance compares to one of the game’s all-time greats.

Pedro Martinez arguably was the greatest pitcher in baseball for a three- or four-year period in the late 1990s and into the 2000s. In the height of the steroid era, Martinez put up laughable video game numbers, the sort of statistics that really haven’t been matched … until now, by Kershaw.

So how does Kershaw’s aforementioned three-games stretch match up to some of Pedro’s most dominant stretches? We’re glad you asked.

Let’s start in 1997 when Martinez was still in Montreal. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of Kershaw’s three recent starts against Martinez’s three starts between April 20 and May 1. If anything, this gives you an idea of how freaking good Martinez was early in that season, allowing just one unearned run in those three starts. That being said, Kershaw allowed fewer hits in more innings and despite throwing the same percentage of strikes, he was able to also limit walks.



Next up, we look at Pedro’s first three starts in a Boston Red Sox uniform to begin the 1998 season. It’s pretty crazy how similar some of the numbers are. That being said, Kershaw again has the advantage when it comes to limiting base runners.

KershawPedro2Martinez’s 2000 season is one of the 10 best pitching seasons of all time, and that might be selling it short. Martinez was simply dominant pretty much the entire season, but he actually had a four-stretch start from late April through the middle of May when he allowed just one run over 32 innings, while striking out 48 batters in those four starts. That’s baseball absurdity. For the sake of this exercise, though, we’re taking the three best starts from that four-start stretch — April 30 through May 12.  Even against one of the best three-start stretches of a Hall of Famer’s career, Kershaw matches up well. Again, fewer hits and walks in more innings of work, keeping batters off base at an incredible rate. Martinez gets the edge in strikeouts, but that’s about it.


KershawPedro3Finally, we look at a stretch in 2002. This almost certainly was the best run of Martinez’s career. Once again, we actually could look at a four-start run where Martinez went 4-0, allowing just 11 hits, walking three and striking out 38 over 31 innings. Oh, and he didn’t allow any runs. But again, we’ll look at the best three-start sample in those four starts. There’s no real analysis that can be made here. These guys are freaks.



So, what exactly was the point of this? We’re not entirely sure, to be honest, other than to say it’s just another lens for which to view Kershaw’s recent dominance. We revere Martinez as one of the best of all time, one of the most dominant pitchers of his era, and you could make the case Kershaw’s outpacing him. The other thing you have to remember is that this isn’t the first time Kershaw’s done this. As we mentioned, he’s been pitching like this — although maybe not this good — since 2011. He doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, either.

This is the stuff of legends, and it’s on display every five days.

Stats via
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images

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Clayton Kershaw’s Dominance Matches Up Quite Well With Pedro Martinez –