The mark of an iconic pitcher is reaching 300 wins. It’s one of baseball’s most elite clubs — like the 600-homer club or the 3,000-hit club — where only 24 pitchers in the history of the game reside. And these days, 300 wins seem ever harder to come by.
Clayton Kershaw, at 30 years old with 145 wins, is one of the guys whose name inevitably comes up every time a “Will we ever see another 300-game winner?” article is published. The last pitcher to reach 300 was Randy Johnson in 2009, before that it was Tom Glavine in 2007 — both proof that in modern baseball you’d better plan on pitching into your 40s if you want to crack 300. Heck, the most wins among an active player is Bartolo Colon with 240 — and he’s 44 years old.
Which brings us back to Kershaw, who is this week’s guest on the Yahoo Sports MLB podcast. Kershaw talked about a number of things — fatherhood, money, which people in the world impress him — and reaching 300 wins was one of them. And guess what? Kershaw’s outlook isn’t what you might expect.
“I don’t think I’m gonna make that. I don’t see that happening. That’s a really hard thing,” Kershaw told Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown in their sitdown. “Not only have I gotten to pitch for 10 years, but I’ve been on a lot of teams that win a lot of games, which is obviously is a huge part of it. This team has been in the playoffs however many years in a row now. We won a lot of games, so even to be fortunate as far as that goes, to be on great teams that might get you a few more wins if you weren’t on a great team — and still not to be halfway yet, I think that puts it in perspective. It would be cool, but I’m not banking on that by any means.”
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In modern baseball, with advanced stats being what they are, the pitcher win is becoming something of a bygone statistic. Certain fans will tell you the win stat doesn’t accurately measure a pitcher’s performance. And while Kershaw understands the argument, he’s still a fan of Ws:
“You can make a lot of cases that you can take the win stat out of the game and you can still figure out who the good pitchers are, and I agree with that to some extent,” Kershaw told Yahoo Sports. “But there’s something about your win-loss record, there’s something about having wins by your name that means something. Regardless of how important that is. There’s a lot of variables you can’t control in trying to win a game, but at the end of the day it does mean something to win a game in the big leagues and be on the mound. Yeah, you can probably evaluate a lot of starters without it, but I like it.”
This week on the podcast, you’ll get the full interview with Kershaw, plus all this:
0:44 – The boldest Pizza Move possible
1:33 – “She had the thumbs of a blacksmith, the elbows of Charles Oakley”
5:09 – Mike on getting hit in the face by Hulk Hogan
10:25 – Are no-hitters still special? (i.e. why they ruin Jeff’s day)
14:12 – The return of GamestoryGraveyard.com
18:47 – Derek Jeter vs. Bryant Gumbel
19:58 – The trouble with Matt Harvey
22:48 – Jeff vs. Barstool
25:10 – The Mariners’ decision to keep Ichiro over Guillermo Heredia
28:40 – Responding to ridiculous Twitter names
30:41 – The Colorado Rockies, cryptographers?
32:00 – Gabe Kapler and a dozen eggs on an airplane
34:14 – @KevinKaduk likes Charleston Chews because he is weird
39:20 – Tim Flannery wrote Tim Brown a ballad and sang it to him in a Modesto motel room
51:36 – Clayton Kershaw talks with Tim
54:13 – Kershaw on being a dad
57:45 – Kershaw on how money can get in the way of greatness
58:40 – Kershaw on getting to 300 wins: “I don’t see that happening.”
1:01:26 – People who impress Clayton Kershaw
1:03:45 – Bartolo Colon: Fresh Act or Tired Act?
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