The 33-year-old is now in his 14th MLB season, and his list of accomplishments is historic.
Kershaw is an eight-time All-Star, a five-time ERA champion, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, a one-time MVP, and most importantly, a World Series champion.
Clayton Kershaw, Cooperstown Curveball. 👑 pic.twitter.com/iUr3EhqWlQ
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 28, 2021
He has established himself as one of the greatest pitchers to ever grace the planet, and no one can take that away from him.
It’s for all of those reasons that many fans have been taken aback this year to see Kershaw perform at anything less than an elite level.
He has had some rocky stretches this season, although it feels silly to even pretend like the guy hasn’t still been great.
It’s just that, by his standards, he has taken a small step back.
While some fans have tossed around the idea that age may be catching up with him, others believe he still has a second act in him.
And if you keep reading, you’ll see why that very well may be the case.
Here are three reasons why the future Hall of Famer will bounce back.
3. Just A Few Bad Outings
Kershaw’s primary “struggle” this season hasn’t been a lack of dominant starts.
Most of the time, he has looked like his vintage self.
Rather, he has had a few difficult outings, inflating his season statistics, and taking away from what he has been able to accomplish in all of his other starts.
Specifically, Kershaw has had five outings this season (out of his 17 total) in which he has allowed four runs or more.
There is no sugarcoating those outings—they were rough.
In those starts alone, his ERA was 8.76.
But in his other 12 starts, Kershaw has been phenomenal.
He has managed a 1.53 ERA in all of his other outings, and the Dodgers are 9-3 in those games.
2. He Has Been Outstanding Lately
Over his last four starts, Kershaw has dominated.
In that span, he has managed a 2.08 ERA and has fanned 38 batters in 26.0 innings.
Most recently, he put together arguably his best performance of the season on Sunday against the Chicago Cubs.
In a 7-1 win, the lefty tossed eight innings of one-run ball while allowing just five base-runners and striking out 13 batters.
do you ever just sit there thinking “I can’t believe I get to be alive during the Clayton Kershaw era” because same pic.twitter.com/oBFUwOlnNE
— Hannah (@heyimhannahlee) June 28, 2021
The win put the Dodgers within three-and-a-half games of the first-place San Francisco Giants in the National League West.
1. Historically, He Gets Better In The Second Half Of The Season
No matter the sport, finishing strong is always important.
You can often make up for lost ground with a strong second half, whether that’s in the context of a game or a season.
Kershaw knows a thing or two about that.
Having a pitcher who is able to turn things up a notch when the playoff race heats up is a massive luxury, and that’s exactly what Kershaw does.
For his career, he has a 2.67 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and .588 opponent OPS in games prior to the All-Star break.
Those numbers are great, but after the Midsummer Classic, he turns it up even more.
He has a career 2.20 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and .573 opponent OPS in games after the All-Star break.
That’s a difference of almost half a run in the ERA department, which is no small thing.
If history is any indication, Kershaw could have the same trick up his sleeve this season.