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Clayton Kershaw off to incredible start in 2021

He’s been fantastic over his last five starts

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Los Angeles Dodgers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

As if you didn’t already know, Clayton Kershaw is really damn good. But like I said, you already knew that.

We’re one month into the season, and Kershaw is already near the top of the leaderboards in essentially every category. He’s currently top 10 in the National League in wins (4), strikeouts (39), ERA (2.09), WHIP (0.91) and even a couple more stats. The craziest part is, he’s top 10 even after his awful start to the season.

If you remember back to Opening Day, Kershaw got roughed up. He allowed five runs on 10 hits with only two strikeouts in 5 23 innings. Since then, Kershaw has been arguably the best pitcher in the National League.

Over his last five starts, Kershaw has posted a 1.09 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and is striking out 10.1 hitters per nine innings while walking only 1.1 per nine innings. To put it lightly, he’s been incredible.

Something new for Kershaw this year is the fact that for the first time in his big-league career, he’s throwing his slider more than his fastball. According to statcast, Kershaw is throwing his slider 45.1 percent of the time, while he’s throwing his fastball only 38.8 percent of the time.

“I don’t know [why],” Kershaw said following yesterday’s game. “It’s been trending that way over the years. Sometimes the situation indicates throwing it. I can throw it any time. At times I feel i might have better command with that than my fastball.”

He’s right. He’s slowly been throwing it more frequently over the last few years. It was nearly identical in 2018, and then nearly identical last season. Now, for the first time, his slider is his most frequently used pitch.