Clayton Kershaw made history again on Sunday. His strikeout of Melvin Upton Jr. in the third inning gave him six strikeouts on Sunday and 300 strikeouts for the season, the first pitcher in baseball to strikeout 300 batters in a season in 13 years.
Public Enemy No. 300. #Kershaw300 pic.twitter.com/C9BVDnc2Z5— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 4, 2015
Randy Johnson (334 strikeouts) and Curt Schilling (316) were teammates on the 2002 Diamondbacks, and were the last pitchers to reach the 300-strikeout plateau.
In the modern era (since 1901), there have only been 34 seasons of 300 or more strikeouts. Only four have been by Dodgers, with Kershaw joining Sandy Koufax, who reached the milestone in 1963, 1965 and 1966.
Kershaw ended with seven strikeouts in 3⅔ innings with his allotted 60 pitches, and finished with 301 strikeouts on the season.
Kershaw, with 232⅔ innings to lead the majors, has the second-fewest innings pitched in a 300-strikeout season, ahead of only Pedro Martinez, who struck out 313 in 213⅓ innings for Boston in 1999.
Martinez had a strikeout rate in 1999 of 37.49 percent, tops among the 34 seasons of 300 or more strikeouts. Kershaw's strikeout rate this season of 33.82 percent ranks fourth, with two Randy Johnson seasons in between.
Johnson and Nolan Ryan dominate the list of 300-strikeout seasons with six apiece, and Ryan's 383 punchouts in 1973 still stands as the major league record, one more than Koufax in 1965. While there have been 34 individual seasons of 300 strikeouts, there have only been 15 pitchers to do it, with Kershaw truly among select company.