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Adrian Gonzalez, Clayton Kershaw and the race to 2,000

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MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX — A pair of Dodgers are closing in on milestones this season, and it will be interested to see if Clayton Kershaw or Adrian Gonzalez can get to 2,000 first.

Kershaw has 1,918 career strikeouts, 82 whiffs shy of becoming the fifth-youngest pitcher to reach 2,000 strikeouts in his career.

Gonzalez has 1,954 career hits, just 46 shy of the 2,000 mark, something reached by 280 major leaguers to date.

During the podcast this week, Craig Minami asked what was a fascinating, yet simple question: which one gets to 2,000 first. So let’s look at the past few years.

Gonzalez had 162 hits in 156 games in 2016, and as a Dodger has 696 hits in 664 games, 1.05 hits per game. Here is how long it has taken Gonzalez to reach 46 hits in each of the last four seasons:

  • 2016: 46 team games
  • 2015: 34
  • 2014: 44
  • 2013: 44

Kershaw averaged 8.19 strikeouts per start in 2016, but was at a whopping 9.12 strikeouts per start in 2015. He has averaged 8.28 strikeouts per start over the last four years, but of course starts roughly once every five games.

Here is how long it took Kershaw to reach 82 strikeouts over the last four seasons:

  • 2016: 40 team games (9 starts)
  • 2015: 45 (10)
  • 2014: 74 (10)
  • 2013: 53 (12)

In 2014, Kershaw started opening day in Australia but then missed time on the disabled list, which explains the relative lateness in reaching 82 strikeouts.

In three of the previous four seasons, Gonzalez has reached 46 hits before Kershaw got to 82 strikeouts, with Kershaw only coming out on top in 2016.

Looking at the 2017 schedule, the Dodgers only have three off days through May 21, with 46 games in a stretch 49 days. Should Kershaw make all his starts, even accounting for the club using the three off days to give the rotation an extra day of rest rather than skip starters — yes, I know it is folly to try to project a rotation out even more than a week, let along nearly two months, but work with me here — Kershaw’s 10th start would be on May 21, in the club’s 46th game.

Who is your pick to reach the 2,000 milestone first?