Giants right fielder Mike Yastrzemski flew out to shallow center field to end the third inning against the Dodgers on Thursday afternoon at Oracle Park in San Francisco. It was in some ways a very ordinary at-bat. But Yastrzemski also represented the 10,000th batter faced in Clayton Kershaw’s career.
Kershaw’s just the seventh pitcher in Dodgers franchise history to face 10,000 batters. Two of them — Brickyard Kennedy and Adonis Terry — pitched almost entirely in the 19th century, a totally different time when folks pitched roughly every other day, presumably walking uphill in the snow both to and from the ballpark.
The other four pitchers to face 10,000 batters with the Dodgers — Don Sutton, Don Drysdale, Dazzy Vance, Burleigh Grimes — are in the Hall of Fame, and Kershaw will be soon after he retires. But for now he’s active and pitching quite well.
I wondered what it would look like to see how well Kershaw performed in chunks of a thousand batters each, to show his progression through the years.
Here’s how it looks through 10,000 batters for the left-hander.
Clayton Kershaw, one thousand batters at a time
Over his last thousand batters faced, dating back to August 14, 2020, Kershaw has a 2.94 ERA, ranking 14th among MLB pitchers with at least 200 innings, and his 23.8 strikeout-minus-walk rate ranks ninth.
Among active pitchers, Kershaw is the fifth pitcher to face at least 10,000 batters, along with Zack Greinke, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Adam Wainwright. The youngest member of that quartet, Scherzer, is 37, three years older than Kershaw.