Great starts and Great Clayton

CLAYTON KERSHAW is now the all-time Dodger strikeout leader (Flickr/Malingerer).

These are great times for LA-Orange County baseball fans.

Both the Dodgers and the Angels are in first place in their divisions.

The Dodgers are especially interesting because they are involved in another Great Race in the National League West, with the top four teams all within a game and a half.

The Angels are especially interesting because for the first time in nearly a decade they appear to have just the right balance of hitting, pitching and team cohesion.

And, of course, we are blessed with three of the most outstanding stars in baseball history in Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani and Clayton Kershaw.

The latter nailed his name into the history books on Saturday at Chavez Ravine when he became the Dodgers’ career leader in strikeouts by fanning Spencer Torkelson of the Detroit Tigers for his 2,697th strikeout of his 15-year career, all with the Dodgers.

He’s in pretty good company with Hall of Famers Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Don Sutton.

His performance outshines more than just those in Dodger Blue. The Associated Press points out that since the start of the live-ball era in 1920, he has the lowest career ERA (2.48) among starting pitchers with at least 1,500 innings. He’s fourth among active players in strikeouts.

“It speaks to longevity and consistency. It’s just going to add to his lore, not just in Dodger but baseball history,” said manager Dave Roberts. “I think for a fan base that’s followed him his entire career, to ultimately reach this milestone at home, get that ovation and share that with the fans certainly makes it sweeter.”

A Taylor-made performance

Who is that bearded man? Taylor Ward of the Angels made himself known this past week with a spectacular performance that – we can hope – heralded the arrival of another Halo star.

Ward, 28, was named American League Player of the Week for batting .448, scoring 10 runs and driving in 11 (including a grand slam). To date the Angel third baseman is batting .400 and has hit five home runs in 15 games.

Fast starts sometimes fade out, but in this, his fifth season with the team, maybe Taylor can finally find a playing style that “suits” him perfectly.

Kings open Stanley Cup playoffs

The Los Angeles Kings – last team standing among the “winter sports” teams from the area – start post-season play today in Edmonton against the Oilers, a Pacific Division rival. Game Two is on Wednesday, and the series comes back to Los Angeles on Friday.

“Sports Monday” is written by Pete Zarustica with staff and wire service reports.


Leave a Reply