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Clayton Kershaw is 5th-youngest to reach 2,000 strikeouts

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Kershaw is also the fourth pitcher to strike out 2,000 batters with the Dodgers.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw got Jonathan Villar swinging in the second inning on Friday at Miller Park in Milwaukee. That gave him four strikeouts on the night against the Brewers, and gave Kershaw 2,000 career strikeouts, the fifth-youngest player in major league history to reach the milestone.

Kershaw is 29 years, 75 days old on Friday. Only four players were faster by age, led by Bert Blyleven at 28 years, 97 days old on July 12, 1979, when pitching for the Pirates he fanned Terry Puhl of the Astros to lead off the game in Houston for his 2,000th strikeout.

Kershaw was on pace to become the second-fastest before missing 10 weeks last season with a herniated disc in his back.

With 1,837⅔ career innings to date, Kershaw is the third-quickest to reach 2,000 strikeouts by innings pitched, trailing only Pedro Martinez (1,711⅓ innings, reached 2,000 strikeouts on April 19, 2002) and Randy Johnson (1,733⅓ IP, Sept. 27, 1997).

Johnson’s 2,000th strikeout came in his 262nd career game, per Elias Sports Bureau the only one faster by games than Kershaw, who Friday night made his 275th career start and pitched in his 277th career game.

There is an excellent chance that Nationals starter Max Scherzer, 32, could reach 2,000 strikeouts later this month in fewer innings than Kershaw. Scherzer at the moment has 1,981 career strikeouts in 1,773⅔ innings.

There are 79 players in major league history with 2,000 strikeouts.

Kershaw led the majors with 301 strikeouts in 2015, the first 300-strikeout season in the majors since 2002. The left-hander also led the National League in strikeouts in 2011 and 2013. He entered Friday night eighth in the NL in strikeouts in 2017.

Kershaw is the fourth pitcher to strike out 2,000 hitters with the Dodgers, joining Don Sutton (2,696), Don Drysdale (2,486) and Sandy Koufax (2,396).

Kershaw is one of just nine pitchers in major league history to reach 2,000 strikeouts before turning 30, a list that includes six Hall of Famers, and now three Dodgers:

Fastest to 2,000 strikeouts

Pitcher Team Opponent Date Age (Yrs.Days) 2,000th victim
Pitcher Team Opponent Date Age (Yrs.Days) 2,000th victim
Bert Blyleven Pirates Astros 7/12/1979 28.097 Terry Puhl (1st inning)
Sam McDowell Indians Angels 5/7/1971 28.228 Alex Johson (4th inning)
Walter Johnson Senators Red Sox 6/28/1916 28.235 unknown*
Felix Hernandez Mariners A's 5/10/2015 29.032 Sam Fuld (5th inning)
Clayton Kershaw Dodgers Brewers 6/2/2017 29.075 Jonathan Villar (2nd inning)
Nolan Ryan Angels Tigers 8/31/1976 29.213 Ron LeFlore (1st inning)
Sandy Koufax Dodgers Phillies 8/28/1965 29.241 Tony Taylor (9th inning)
Don Drysdale Dodgers Cubs 6/8/1966 29.320 Don Kessinger (4th inning)
Bob Feller Indians White Sox 9/29/1948 29.331 Jim Delsing (5th inning)
*There is no play-by-play data for the game in 1916 that saw Johnson record his 2,000th strikeout. What we know is that his third strikeout of that game was his career 2,000th, and only four different Red Sox struck out in the game — Ernie Shore and Mike McNally twice each, Tilly Walker and Hick Cady once each. Yes, those are real names.