Take a quick glance and you might not be particularly encouraged by what Clayton Kershaw has done since returning from the disabled list.
There’s nothing wrong with a 3.32 ERA, but Kershaw hasn’t finished with an ERA that high since he was a rookie. You’d be tempted to think Kershaw’s under-performance is one of the reasons the Dodgers are looking up at the Giants in the standings.
But we can go deeper than this. For one thing, it’s worth acknowledging Kershaw’s one disastrous start against the Diamondbacks. This is bad analysis, but if you forgive Kershaw for a bad day, his ERA drops from 3.32 to 1.94. He’s been outstanding, except for once.
And we don’t even need to mess around with ERA anyway, since we have more meaningful numbers at our disposal. If you believe what the numbers are saying, Clayton Kershaw might’ve somehow improved. It all comes out of the following foundation: the very best pitchers get strikeouts, limit walks, and limit homers. In order to limit homers, it’s preferable to limit fly balls.
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