The résumé of Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clatyon Kershaw is replete with awards and accolades. He’s been MVP of the National League. He’s won the Cy Young Award three times. He’s a five-time All-Star. And he owns the lowest career ERA (2.38) of any active pitcher by a country mile.
Yet, somehow, Kershaw continues to produce stats that were previously unthinkable.
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Through 11 starts this season, Kershaw has struck out 105 batters and walked only five—a 20:1 strikeout-to-walks ratio, which is the best ever for a single season. Here are a few other absurd statistics from Kershaw’s 2016 season, via USA Today:
His walks and hits per inning (0.65) would break the all-time WHIP record of 0.74, set by Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez in 2000. His 334-strikeout pace would mark the most punchouts in a season since Hall of Famer Randy Johnson fanned that many in 2002.
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Kershaw is a baseball-throwing god, and a lot of his success is due to his extensive and obsessive pregame warm-up, which he performs before every start. The warm-up, which takes a good half hour, begins with various stretches, from Arm Circles to Lunges to the Seated Groin Stretch, mixed with sprints from left field to the center field wall. This goes on for about 15 minutes until a trainer comes over and begins stretching Kershaw on the outfield grass just beyond where the shortstop stands. Then, more sprinting and more stretches before Kershaw gets in to his long toss routine.
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For 10 minutes, Kershaw works his way backwards after each throw until he’s almost at the centerfield wall, while his catcher remains in the corner of left field. Once he hits his farthest point, Kershaw returns to the starting position and begins again. When the 10 minutes are up, it’s off to the bullpen to continue warming up before he begins the long walk to the dugout a few minutes before the first pitch.
Whether its spring training or the regular season. Kershaw’s routine never varies. His dedication and precision have helped him achieve one of the most absurd statlines in baseball history. We can’t wait to see how the rest of his regular season shakes out.