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Clayton Kershaw Ready for Spring Training Opener

On Thursday, Clayton Kershaw will make his spring training debut for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Cactus League giving baseball fans the chance to see one of baseball’s perennial Cy Young Award winners.

Though the Dodgers’ ace ultimately missed winning the Cy Young Award in the National League last season, he finished in the top three for a fifth straight season and surpassed the 300-strikeout mark once again with numbers any pitcher would envy.

While his start on Thursday is just the beginning to a long tough season, it allows one to present some of the milestones Kershaw has an opportunity to reach this season.

He will be going after a fourth NL Cy Young Award. If he were to win it, he would be the fifth pitcher to win it four times. Roger Clemens has seven, Steve Carlton and Randy Johnson have five and Greg Maddux four.

Following consecutive seasons of below 2.00 ERA in 2013 and 2014, Kershaw saw his ERA in 2015 skyrocket to 2.13. If he can keep it below 2.25 this season, he would be the first to have an ERA of below 2.25 for four straight seasons since former Dodgers great Sandy Koufax did it in 1963-66.

Kershaw has had 200 or more strikeouts and allowed 175 or less hits in the last six straight seasons. That ties Nolan Ryan and Pedro Martinez for the most type of season in major league history. If he can do that again this season, he would be the first accomplish the feat in seven straight seasons.

Kershaw has had a strikeout to walk ratio the past two seasons of 7.71 and 7.17. He is only one of five starters since 1901 to end multiple seasons with a 7.0 or greater strikeout to ratio and no pitcher accomplished the feat three times.

All these numbers can at times be too much for the novice baseball fan, but for those who love the game and its history, can appreciate what the Dodgers lefty has done since starting his career.

Over his career in eight seasons, Kershaw is 114-56 with an ERA of 2.43, with 1746 strikeouts and 466 walks.

His success this season will depend a great deal on the hitting and run support he receives from the Los Angeles offense. He has had the poor luck in seasons past of not receiving sufficient run support.

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