It is inevitable that Sandy Koufax and Clayton Kershaw have been and always will be compared.  Many oldtimers believe that Sandy was literally “The Left Arm of God”,  that no pitcher will ever be better and it is possible that no one will put up better numbers that Koufax did in 1963 to 1966.  However, one Clayton Kershaw is giving it a try.  Koufax was more raw power and explosiveness, but Kershaw may already be the better pitcher.  There, I said it!  Koufax’s stuff was downright nasty while Kershaw’s is more deceptive.

Koufax did not put up a WHIP below 1.00 until was 27, while Clayton has done it twice and is on his way to a third year with a microscopic WHIP… all before he was 27!   We have never seen Clayton pitch when he was 27 – 30 like we did Koufax.  Those four years are what created Sandy’s legacy.  Clayton Kershaw gets better every year.  He is walking fewer batter and striking out more, more efficiently – with fewer pitches.  He has almost cut his strikeout to walk ratio in half this year.

A fierce competitor, Kershaw is driven to be better and better.  It is pure joy to see him pitch, and the maturation of Clayton Kershaw has been a thing to behold.  You can believe that Sandy Koufax was the greatest pitcher of all time, but if Clayton Kershaw keeps up what he has started, you will have a hard time convincing yourself, let alone any others.  Orel Hershiser holds the consecutive scoreless inning record, but I have never seen a pitcher dominate like Kershaw has done the past 6 or 7 games!  Maybe he’s the “Other Left Arm of God.”

Of course, he has to start the All-Star game – just limit him to one inning!

Christmas in july

  1. Badger says:

    You’re obsessed.

    “But I have never seen a pitcher dominate like Kershaw has done the past 6 or 7 games!”

    I’ve seen it many times. I saw in ’88 when Hershiser completed 6 shutouts in a row, the last one being 10 innings. I remember Doc Gooden running off an 18-1 streak. I was around for Drysdale’s scoreless streak too.
    Wait…… are you talking about actually seeing, as watched every game? Maybe that’s it. Has to be because you and I have been around a long time and have seen guys dominate for years at a time. That list is long. And I actually didn’t see every game Hershiser and Drysdale pitch.

    • Badger says:

      oops, Hershiser’s last game in that streak wasn’t a CG. It was 8 CG’s in a row, then the 10 innings of shutout ball but the Dodgers lost. btw, in those 82 innings he gave up 4 earned. If Kershaw does something like that, it could very well be the most dominating stretch I’ve ever seen – because with mlbtv I’m actually seeing it.

  2. Roger Dodger says:

    I saw both pitch some games live, and on TV, through the radio, and bunches of box scores.

    But the times are greatly different.

    Koufax had a higher mound.

    But I believe there were more / better hitters in the earlier time. Just in the N.L. alone were hitters like: Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, Bill White, Billy Williams, Frank Robinson, Eddie Mathews, Ken Boyer, Dick Stuart, Ernie Banks, Roberto Clemente, Bob Skinner, Frank Thomas, Richie Allen, Ron Santo, Rico Carty, Deron Johnson, Pete Rose, Vada Pinson, Willie Stargell, Joe Torre, Donn Clendenon — many of them in the Hall of Fame. I did not even list the singles hitters, other than Rose.

    They were somewhat big on Stats — back then, but not like Now. Today stats rule the game. I do not think in, say, 1962, pitchers were concerned with the number of scoreless innings.

    More complete games then; a starting 4 (not 5) man rotation. And Tommy John surgery was really yet to come, in 1974.

    Talking about Tommy John — growing up in Tucson, living about 1 mile from Hi Corbett Field where the (then) Cleveland Indians held their Spring Training — I saw him pitch several games as a young prospect. Catcher Johnny Romano caught him, and you could hear his encouragement to John, with, “Right here Tommy, right here . . . ” on almost every pitch.

    • Badger says:

      Everybody pitched off the same mound. The claims that the Dodgers mound was higher are unfounded. It just seemed that way because the Dodgers pitchers were so dominant.

      There were more better hitters then, but how could a guy like Mantle (5’11” 195) and Ted Williams (skinny as a stick) do what they did (with some having to sell cars in the off season). Today the guys are 6’4″ 225, with high tech training available and winters off to train, and they can’t accomplish what the old guys did, and did against an 18″ mound. I think the pitching, from the first inning to the last, is better. It just has to be.

  3. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    For the record, I’m lefthanded (just not a left arm of God), but I shake hands with my right hand. But doesn’t everybody shake hands with their right hand? This is a right handed world, so shaking any other way would probably be awkward. I imagine that it’s a learned behavior of a righthand dominant world.

    Badger hit it on the nose, you’re “obsessed”. But as obsessions go, that one is pretty mild. I’m sure I have worse.

    Pretty much all of what Badger said above. I think on this issue Badger and I are pretty much in lock step. I seem to remember that during his streak, in the games I saw, Hershiser was locked into the strike zone, hitting his spots at will.

    Koufax didn’t have the slider, but both his curve and fastball were downright nasty, and he was able to throw them consistently for strikes. In that respect, I don’t think of him as being just a power pitcher. Quite frankly, he didn’t need much more (if anything) other than those two pitches. I’m not even sure that anyone threw the slider back then, but I could be wrong. And the age thing is ridiculous. Koufax was never allowed to develop in the minors when he was younger. Had that not been the case, he likely would have become dominant a lot earlier.

    And I’ll repeat what I’ve said before. Barring injury, Kershaw is going to have a far better career than Koufax, and the numbers may well establish him as the greatest Dodger pitcher of all time. But he will never be a good as the Koufax I saw from 1962 – 1966. Had Koufax remained healthy during all of those years, I have no doubt that he would have won five consecutive Cy Young’s, at a time when there was only one such award for both leagues.

  4. Roger Dodger says:

    Bleacher Report has the suggested trade of:

    Los Angeles Dodgers Receive: SP David Price and RP Brad Boxberger

    Tampa Bay Rays Receive: SS Corey Seager, OF Joc Pederson and SP Zach Lee

    I do not make that trade. Go somewhere else, or with what they have — and work on improving what is present along with a minor leaguer or two into the mix.

  5. Michael says:

    Dan should change his Sir name to Homer ala Bailey. If I start betting on how many HRs he allows will I be banned for eternity.

    If Van Slick is our everyday CF, we are in a world of shit

    Now hiring CF’s and SP’s send inquires to Dodger Stadium, ASAP

  6. Badger says:

    Boxberger and Price is a far more interesting trade. A number 1 and an 8th inning pitcher for 3 prospects? I think I might have to do that one.

    “If Van Slick us our everyday CF, we are in a world of shit”. Michael

    Point taken.

    Offense off to a slow start again tonight.

  7. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Like this year, the All-Star game in 1965 was in Minnesota. And as every Dodger fan knows, the Dodgers won the World Series that year in 7 games. Only thing missing, is that the Twins won’t be one of teams in the World Series this year. After last nights debacle, I need something to lift my spirits.

    Badger, you were right on both counts. A good centerfielder is very important, and it’s just as important not to have an inferior one (actually we have two).

    And we definitely need at least another starting pitcher, and maybe even two. Haren is beginning to look like toast to me, and I just hope that Beckett can come back healthy, and finish out the season strong.

    I won’t get into the rest of the needs.

    • Badger says:

      Haren does look more and more like a 3 inning pitcher each time out. Maybe he takes Wright’s job as, without looking, it feels like he hasn’t had a clean inning in a while. Beckett going down, combined with cracks showing in both Haren and Ryu is cause for alarm in my orbit. Maybe I should just allow for hiccups but add to the pitching issues the middle of this order still looks susceptible to good pitching.

      We have holes. Some of them are new holes, some have been evident for a while. Jed needs to go to work. And Kemp, Gonzalez and Ramirez need to do what they are paid to do.

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