Clayton Kershaw was already one of the best pitchers in baseball.
Now, he's getting even better. He signed the huge contract in the offseason but that hasn't changed a thing.
In eight innings on Friday night, in fact, Kershaw had as many of his own hits as he allowed from the Colorado Rockies, who he no-hit the last time he faced them.
"The way he's throwing it right now, it's as good as we've seen in a long time," said Colorado manager Walt Weiss to MLB.com. "He's a young kid but he's done some things in this game already. He's certainly on quite a run right now."
His numbers are really hard to believe at this point, on a seven-game winning streak that included winning player of the month with 69 strikeouts and just five walks.
Hitters have seen everything he has to offer, every team is gunning for him, yet they can't seem to hit what he has to offer.
As with most pitchers, the catcher has the best explanation for why it's happening, because he has the best view of all of the pitches.
"He's keeping both breaking balls down in the zone," Ellis told MLB.com. "He would have an 'A' slider but a 'C' or 'D' curve, or an 'A' curve but a 'C' or 'D' slider. Now they're both electric strikeout pitches. That's why he's having strikeout totals unmatched in his career. You see a lot of clubs attacking early in the count, first-pitch swinging with a chance of getting a hit. If they don't, he stays in the game longer."
His scoreless streak, at 36, is the third longest in the history of the storied Dodgers and puts him in some extremely select company. Orel Hershiser leads all-time with 59, Don Drysdale once threw 58 in a row.
Kershaw, who missed time early in the season, now has a 10-2 record and 1.85 earned run average and will soon have enough innings pitched to be eligible to lead the league in ERA.
"I think his slider right now, to me, is the best pitch in the game for anybody," Rockies center fielder Drew Stubbs told MLB.com. "He's throwing it harder this year than I've ever seen before. It's 87 to 90 mph and the arm slot it comes out of, it looks like a fastball then just disappears. It's just a really tough pitch to lay off of when it's down and in to a right-hander."
Kershaw did have one ugly moment in Friday's win. But he could laugh it off afterward.
He took a bunt from opposing pitcher Jair Jurrjens and threw the ball away. He quickly was able to pick off Jurrjens though.
"That's a first for me. Pretty embarrassing," Kershaw told MLB.com of the error. "It was bad."
Besides that, he was pretty much unhittable. And he's been that same way for awhile now. He's reached the heart of his career and season and, really, it's becoming clear there is no pitcher in baseball even close to as good as Kershaw.
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