The Kershaw-less Dodgers: A Not So Dark Time…
As the Los Angeles Dodgers end the month of August, they are still the heavy favorite to win the World Series. Since July 23rd, 2017, Clayton Kershaw has not played one game for the Dodgers. Many fans thought the absence of their star pitcher would be devastating to their pace to break the MLB record for best win percentage. While his back injury should of been disastrous, it appears at though the Dodgers are doing just fine without Clayton.
Since his last game, the Dodgers have been on a tear. With a win percentage of 76.7% over the last 30 games, they have continued to dominate the NL West with a 19 game lead over second.
Before the date of his injury, the Dodgers were only sitting at a 68.7% win percentage. Shockingly, the rest of the Dodgers pitchers seem unfazed without their leader. When compared against the entire season, the pitching staff seems to be doing at least on par if not better than when Kershaw was active. Looking at the team’s ERA, earned run average, and WHIP, a statistic which tells a pitcher’s propensity for allowing batters to reach base, we see nearly similar numbers.
Comparing against all Dodgers who have started at least 3 games, the Dodgers have put up lower ERA and WHIP numbers during Clayton’s absence. So, who is Kershaw’s replacement that’s making this possible? The rest of the regular pitchers are doing great as always, but who has been filling the gap? The answer is Yu Darvish.
Recently traded from the Texas Rangers on July 31st, Darvish was just what the Dodgers needed. Since his time for The Blue Crew, he has posted an ERA of 3.13 and WHIP of 1.16. Though he has only played four games, he is producing numbers just on par with the rest of the pitching staff. With a pitching staff still remaining strong, then that leaves the Dodger’s batting for these crazy win percentage numbers. With Turner, Bellinger, Seager, and the gang still beating up on other teams, it appears as though they all consciously making up for the absence of the 3-time Cy Young winner.
Let’s not forget what Kershaw brings the table. We cannot expect these hitters to continue to perform at this high of caliber through the rest of season and playoffs. While it’s tough to remember, Kershaw was off to another amazing year for the Dodgers in 2017.
This is why they pay him the big bucks, with a 2.04 ERA and 0.88 WHIP for the Boys in Blue. Kershaw’s impact cannot be forgotten.
Just yesterday, Manager, Dave Roberts, just reported that Kershaw will be returning to the mound Friday against the Padres. If he’s anything like what he was at the start of the season, it will alleviate a lot of pressure off the batters, and make for a historic rest of a season for the Dodgers.