Well, it was about time, right? I mean, we all knew that Clayton Kershaw was destined to throw at least one no-hitter at some point in his career–it was always just a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’. So, facing the Colorado Rockies last night at Dodger Stadium, Kershaw finally obliged–giving us one of the absolute best pitching performances that Major League Baseball has ever seen. 9 innings, 0 hits, 1 base-runner (reached on an error), 15 strikeouts, 0 walks, 1 three-ball count–all on only 107 pitches.
This is where the Elias Sports Bureau usually chimes in with the historical impact of a player’s performance. In this case, Kershaw’s no-hitter is the ONLY one in MLB history in which a pitcher has struck out as many as 15 batters without allowing a walk. Kershaw is also now tied for the most strikeouts in a no-hitter by a left-handed pitcher (Warren Spahn, 1960). And Kershaw is only the third reigning Cy Young Award winner to throw a no-hitter, joining Bob Gibson (1971) and Sandy Koufax (1964).
Of course, Kershaw was on track to make even more of an historical impact by throwing a perfect game, but a Hanley Ramirez error in the seventh inning ended that pursuit. Coincidentally, the last time a pitcher had a perfect game marred only by an error was in 2009, when Juan Uribe–the Dodgers’ starting third baseman who is currently on the disabled list–made an error in the eighth inning of what was ultimately a no-hitter thrown by San Francisco Giants’ pitcher Jonathan Sanchez. So Ramirez has company on his own team for this dubious feat.
As Dodgers fans have witnessed the greatness of Clayton Kershaw up close and personal since 2008, this gem of a performance comes as no surprise. In fact, Dodgers fans are so accustomed to Kershaw’s consistent brilliance, that seeing him live up to the seven year, $215 million contract he signed in January was never even a concern. Sure, he has yet to lead the Dodgers to a World Series appearance, but he’s only 26 years old –THIS is the beginning of the prime of his career–God willing.
Between his professionalism, his brilliance as a pitcher, being a wonderful teammate, an upstanding citizen, and all of the work he does in the community (as well as in Africa)–Clayton Kershaw is the perfect role model for other professional athletes, as well as for his young fans. We could dissect his no-hitter by pitches thrown, and when, etc. etc., but this performance was really more about solidifying the legacy of one of the best pitchers of our generation. The crazy thing is–at 26, Kershaw is just getting started…