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Clayton Kershaw through 300 starts

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10th pitcher in Dodgers history to start 300 games

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Clayton Kershaw pitched five strong innings on Thursday against the Cubs in his second start back from the disabled list, joining a select group of pitchers to have made 300 starts for the Dodgers.

Even with five extended disabled list trips in the last five seasons, including two trips this season three straight years sidelined with a back injury, Kershaw over the course of his career has been relatively durable. He’s one of nine MLB pitchers since the start of 2008 with at least 300 starts.

Of that group, Kershaw’s adjusted ERA+ (160) is the best by a wide margin, with Zack Greinke and Max Scherzer each at 130 entering Thursday. Kershaw’s 145 wins trail only Justin Verlander (162), Greinke (159), Jon Lester (158) and Scherzer (151).

Since Kershaw’s major league debut on May 25, 2008, his 2,177 strikeouts are bested only by Scherzer (2,290) and Verlander (2,198).

Kershaw is the 10th pitcher to make 300 starts with the Dodgers, and the first new member of this group since Orel Hershiser in 1994. Hershiser is next up on the Dodgers starts list at 309 starts. Theoretically, Kershaw could move into seventh place in franchise history by season’s end, nestled in between Sandy Koufax (314 starts) and Fernando Valenzuela (320).

Kershaw and Koufax are eerily similar in their strikeout totals in their first 300 starts, with Kershaw having the slight edge, 2,179 to 2,177.

Among the 10 Dodgers with 300 starts, Kershaw has the fewest walks (517) in his first 300 starts and the most strikeouts. His 2.38 ERA is the lowest and Kershaw has the fewest losses (68), and his 145 wins ranks only behind Hall of Famers Dazzy Vance (169) and Koufax (150).

Brickyard Kennedy pitched for Brooklyn in the Dodgers’ first decade in the National League. His splits aren’t readily available, so I didn’t include him in the table below, but from 1892-99 he made 290 starts for the Dodgers plus 36 more relief appearances. His totals in all those appearances included 2,448 innings, a 4.02 ERA, 995 walks and 648 strikeouts. He pitched for the Dodgers two more seasons, through 1901.

Sans Kennedy, here are the numbers for the other nine Dodgers in their first 300 starts with the team:

Dodgers pitchers through their first 300 starts with the team

Pitcher Year of 300th start W-L IP ER BB SO ERA
Pitcher Year of 300th start W-L IP ER BB SO ERA
Dazzy Vance 1931 169-108 2,445⅓ 817 665 1,727 3.01
Don Drysdale 1964 135-99 2,156 718 575 1,647 3.00
Johnny Podres 1965 122-100 1,885 762 625 1,229 3.64
Sandy Koufax 1966 150-81 2,094⅔ 640 712 2,177 2.75
Claude Osteen 1972 129-115 2,131⅔ 731 499 1,059 3.09
Don Sutton 1974 128-109 2,165 748 555 1,639 3.11
Fernando Valenzuela 1990 130-108 2,205⅓ 794 866 1,679 3.24
Orel Hershiser 1994 130-97 2,071⅔ 685 612 1,369 2.98
Clayton Kershaw 2018 145-68 1,989 526 517 2,179 2.38
This list doesn’t include Brickyard Kennedy, who pitched for the Dodgers from 1892-1901 but there are no splits available for those seasons Source: The wonderful Baseball-Reference