LOS ANGELES – The weight of it all will hit Clayton Kershaw at some point, perhaps a day away from that. On Tuesday, the longtime Los Angeles Dodgers ace earned his 166th career win, moving him past the Dodgers' latest ace, Sandy Kufax, the man whom Kershaw so often likens.
"It's hard for me to look at big pictures on things," he said. "Someday, I hope to do it."
Kershaw is already the fifth winning franchisee in history, trailing only Don Sutton, Don Drysdale, Dazy Vance and Brickard Kennedy, great of other times. Among those in the expansion era that began in 1961, Kershaw sits in a four-way tie for 25th in pitcher victories in his first 12 seasons. With three more W, reachable in view of the health and success of his campaign in 201
But Koufax, who dominated the first half of the 60s before hand injuries, forced him to retiring at the age of 30 is a lasting relationship.
"It is an honor for me to just be mentioned in the same sentence as Sandy," Kershaw said after the team's victory of the Blue Jays 16-3. "What he was able to accomplish in his career – he would have lasted much longer if he played today, probably because he could recover. Just special, man."
Kershaw was at his best as he prepared to face the low Jays for a six-game home run, posting a 1.40 EPA with 59 hits and 13 walks over his previous 45 innings. Then he hit himself around. Bo Bichette threw him deep twice, first on a 90 mph fastball to open the game, then on a flat slider to open the sixth. Derek Fisher also had to lead the third. But Kershaw got into trouble, just as he often does this season.
"This is something that all greats have – the ability to limit damage," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. "It's that short-term memory where when something happens or you're in a big place, you still have that ability to focus on playing on the pitch."
Kershaw gave up three separate home runs, but nothing more than a dashboard. , He allowed three other hits and issued three walks, but managed to complete six innings for the 22nd time in 22 starts this season. He improved to 13-2 and put his ERA at 2.71, the fifth lowest in the majors, though he continued to rely more on breaking balls than ever before.
Slider – opponents on the field have batted exactly .194 against his last seven starts – continues to show the depth needed to differentiate him from Kershaw's fastball, forcing hits to go 1-for-10 in bats that ended with a him on Tuesday.
Kershaw rejected all this. He felt that he was often "rescued", referring to the double play in which Randal Grichuk was ranked fourth. The left-hander would have wanted to come out for seventh, with his pitch at only 89, but he said, "I didn't win it."
Earlier, Roberts said it was "certainly fair" to compare Kershaw to Kufax, who went 97-27 with a 1.86 ERA from 1963 to 1966 (and put up a 0.95 ERA in 57 postseason careers)
Kershaw will think about it another day.
"Letting us get to do some of these things is really special and I try not to lose sight of it," Kershaw said. "But I think somewhere in my brain I can't [fully appreciate the moment] continue to be successful every fifth day because you think you're better than you know, you know? So you just have to keep going.
" would one day look back and think it's pretty cool. "