Since his first full season in the Majors back in 2009, Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw has been the best pitcher in baseball.
It's as simple as that.
In 266 games, Kershaw has pitched 1,767.0 innings in the Big Leagues and has incredibly given up just 1,297 hits while striking out 1,926.
Overall, he's gone 127-60 with an impeccable 2.36 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. The word "dominant" doesn't even live up to describing the 29-year-old left-hander, who is on a clear path to the Hall of Fame.
However, every pitcher has their rough outings, including the perennial Cy Young award candidate.
On Saturday night against the Colorado Rockies, Kershaw had one of those bad nights.
Falling victim to Denver's thin air as so many pitchers before him have done, Kershaw pitched 6.0 innings and gave up eight hits, four earned runs including three homers and struck out six in the 4-2 loss.
As you can imagine, a pitcher of Kershaw's caliber doesn't give up the home run ball very often.
In fact, through 21 starts and 149.0 innings last season, he gave up just eight dingers. Through two starts and 13.0 innings this season, he's already given up four, exactly half of last year's mark.
But it wasn't the quantity of homers that is most eye-opening. Rather, it was the fact that he allowed back-to-back homers of the first time in his career, when Mark Reynolds and Gerardo Parra took him deep in the sixth inning.
Since Kershaw's arsenal of pitches is virtually un-hittable, when he makes a mistake, he very rarely follows it up with another mistake.
Here's footage of the home runs, in case you're skeptical.
To reiterate how many innings he pitched before surrendering back-to-back blasts, consider the following:
It was also only the third time in his career that Kershaw gave up multiple homers in one inning.
Kershaw's next start is scheduled for Friday against the Arizona Diamondbacks at home in Los Angeles. Last year, he thew 7.1 innings, giving up five hits and two earned runs while striking out 11 against the D-Backs in his one start against them.
In his career against Arizona, however, he has gone 12-8 with a 2.75 ERA in 24 starts. Therefore, he as appeared a bit more human than you may imagine against his NL West rivals.
It remains to be seen whether or not Kershaw will avoid giving up the long ball on a consistent basis this season. If history means anything, he will get himself back in line very soon.
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