Clayton Kershaw never threw a curveball when he was behind in the count last season… That's pretty crazy pic.twitter.com/vYSotPuzir
— Daren Willman (@darenw) February 27, 2017
Kershaw, as Willman notes, never threw a curveball when behind in the count last season. And that’s not all: as Jeff Zimmerman discovered in a December post at RotoGraphs, Kershaw has also been reluctant to employ his other breaking pitch, the slider, in hitter’s counts.
You should read it since he makes a great case for Kershaw throwing more off-speed when behind, but the thing that caught my eye was this:
For his career, Kershaw has thrown 243 pitches on 3-0 counts. He’s thrown 242 fastballs and one slider.
Immediately I wanted to find the one time he threw a 3-0 off-speed pitch.
So I went to the source of that statistic at Brooks Baseball, and eventually I narrowed it down to October 8 … from 2009. That was Game 2 of the 2009 NLDS against the Cardinals, in which Kershaw went 6.2 innings and gave up only two runs in a game the Dodgers went on to win.
I hunted all over for video and eventually found the entire game on YouTube. In that game, Kershaw went 3-0 to a batter four times, which I’ve marked on the video with time stamps.
Top Of 1st – Brendan Ryan – 95 MPH Fastball
Top Of 3rd – Albert Pujols – 55 MPH “Slider”
Top Of 4th – Mark DeRosa – 94 MPH Fastball
Top of 6th – Albert Pujols – 93 MPH Fastball
As you can see, none of them were sliders or any kind of off-speed pitch. And I’m almost positive that whatever registered as a slider was actually the 3-0 pitch he threw to Pujols that was an intentional walk.
So in the end, there was no real point to this other than to say that as far as I can tell Clayton Kershaw has never not thrown a fastball on a 3-0 count as a pitcher in the majors, and I’m posting about it because it took time to try and hunt the one time he supposedly did, but in the end actually was just issuing an intentional walk.