One year after an injury robbed us of a pitching duel between Clayton Kershaw and Stephen Strasburg, those two will go at it in Wednesday afternoon’s series finale between the Dodgers and Nationals at Dodger Stadium.
The Kershaw-Strasburg matchup was so highly anticipated last year that Vin Scully battled a sore throat in hopes of calling the game, only to be let down when Strasburg was scratched less than an hour before game time with a strained upper back.
"I really knew I had a sore throat, but I wanted to see Strasburg and Kershaw so badly that I decided I'm going to go and somehow croak my way through the game," Scully explained last year. "It will be so exciting. I'm going to see two of the great pitchers going head to head."
The matchup remains compelling, with both pitchers enjoying fine 2017 campaigns to date.
Kershaw leads the National League in ERA (2.28), with Strasburg (2.91) fourth. Strasburg leads in FIP (2.63), with Kershaw (2.96) third.
Kershaw is tied for third with 92 strikeouts, and struck out 14 batters five days ago. Strasburg is eighth in the NL with 81 strikeouts, including a career-high 15 just 11 days ago.
Most Dodger Stadium IP
Wednesday will mark Kershaw’s 144th career home start at home, closing in on becoming just the sixth pitcher to throw 1,000 innings at Dodger Stadium. Kershaw is at 979 innings entering Wednesday, and his 2.01 ERA is second only — minimum 20 starts — to Sandy Koufax (1.37).
Don Sutton was a fixture in the Dodgers rotation for 15 years (1966-80), and understandably holds most bulk franchise pitching records. That includes most wins (126), starts (270), innings (2,027) and strikeouts (1.498).
Kershaw is already second in strikeouts at Dodger Stadium (1,096), and by the end of the season should be able to reach second in wins. At 74-30, Kershaw only has Claude Osteen (79-70) and Orel Hershiser (76-53) standing between him and Sutton for most wins at Chavez Ravine.
After lowering his career WHIP under 1.000 on May 23, Kershaw’s prediction came true, with his walks plus hits now again more than his career innings pitched.
"One bad outing, and I’ll go right back up," Kershaw said two weeks ago.
Entering Wednesday, Kershaw has allowed 1,359 hits and 488 walks, for a total of 1,847 walks plus hits in 1,843 career innings, giving him a current WHIP of 1.00217.
Time: 12:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network