(Photo by Kevin French/Icon Sportswire)
I’m writing about starting pitching for Rotographs and didn’t want the Pitcher List community to miss out on one of our signature GIF Breakdowns.
Wednesday night featured a Clayton Kershaw that we didn’t know. An imposter, a fraud who gave us a six-walk outing so rare that we hadn’t seen one from the #1 Starting Pitcher since 2012. So long ago that it was a time where Matt Harrison had fantasy relevance. So ridiculous that we have to have a talk.
It’s not a novel idea. Kershaw’s 3.48 ERA was uncharacteristic during his September return from the DL last season – a seven-game stretch concluding with six straight games allowing a longball. And with the likes of Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber, and Chris Sale all knocking on his door to claim the title of “Best Pitcher On The Planet” there was bound to be plenty more scrutiny.
But while the arguments before eventually ended with “yeah, but it’s Kershaw, he hasn’t shown any real sides of fading and he’s done it for so long,” we finally have an explanation for his struggles. No, it’s not his back problems (while it may be the very root, it’s too simple of an answer and is far from effective rhetoric), it’s his fastball. More specifically, his fastball command.