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Clayton Kershaw vs. Max Scherzer is a Sunday treat

Highly-decorated pitching matchup to finish off Dodgers-Nationals

90th MLB All-Star Game, presented by Mastercard Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

We get a treat in the finale of Dodgers vs. Nationals on Sunday, with one of the most celebrated pitching matchups in baseball. Clayton Kershaw starts against Max Scherzer in a battle of future Hall of Famers.

Both were drafted high in 2006 — Kershaw seventh overall by the Dodgers, and Scherzer 11th by the Diamondbacks. Conveniently, both debuted four weeks apart in 2008.

Each has won three Cy Young Awards and finished in the top five seven times. Kershaw finished second twice, and Scherzer once. Scherzer has two no-hitters to Kershaw’s one. Kershaw is an eight-time All-Star, Scherzer seven. Kershaw has an MVP. The résumés are impeccable.

But this is just the fourth time the two have faced off against each other.

MLB pitching ranks since 2008

Stat Kershaw Scherzer
Stat Kershaw Scherzer
Strikeouts 2,536 (3rd) 2,793 (1st)
Wins 176 (4th) 175 (5th)
Innings 2,345⅔ (6th) 2,363⅓ (5th)
ERA+ 157 (1st) 131 (9th)
Cy Youngs 3 (1st) 3 (1st)
bWAR 66.8 (1st) 55.9 (4th)
ERA+ is minimum 1,000 innings

The first time they faced each other was September 7, 2008 at Dodger Stadium, when both were rookies. Scherzer was making his fourth major league start (and pitching in his 13th major league game), while Kershaw was starting for the 17th time. Both pitchers allowed three runs in no-decisions, and they were still incubating as major leaguers. Kershaw only pitched four innings and Scherzer pitched five, though Scherzer struck out 11.

Then came the 2016 NLDS, when the Dodgers jumped on Scherzer early in Game 1 with four runs, including home runs by Corey Seager and Justin Turner, and Kershaw and the bullpen made it hold up for a 4-3 win.

The last matchup featured a pair of much more accomplished pitchers. On April 20, 2018, both pitchers entered the game with three career Cy Young Awards. Scherzer won the previous two National League awards, and would finish second in 2018. He got the better of Kershaw in this one, allowing a run in six innings while striking out nine. Kershaw lasted longer, but allowed four runs in his seven innings.

Sunday we get the Dodgers going for a sweep of the Nationals, with Kershaw coming off his best start of the season, allowing one run in seven innings while striking out eight and walking none. Scherzer also pitched Tuesday, and struck out nine with no walks against the Braves. But he also allowed four runs in six innings in a no-decision.

Game info

  • Teams: Dodgers vs. Nationals
  • Location: Dodger Stadium
  • Time: 1:10 p.m. PT
  • TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network (out of market)