Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw Vs. Nationals’ Max Scherzer: Rare Matchup Between 3-Time Cy Young Award Winners
2016 Nlds Tale Of The Tape: Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, Nationals’ Max Scherzer

After sweeping the San Diego Padres and extending their winning streak to four games in the process, the Los Angeles Dodgers return home for an intriguing three-game set with the Washington Nationals.

Though the month of April hasn’t even concluded, the opener on Friday will feature one of the best pitching matchups this season. Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer, arguably the two best starting pitchers in all of baseball, are set to face off in a historic meeting.

According to Stats LLC, it’s just the 13th time in MLB history that both pitchers with at least three Cy Young Awards will square off against each other. It’s the 10th such matchup in the regular season.

Since entering the league in 2008, Kershaw has not only stockpiled a plethora of awards and accolades along the way, but also firmly entrenched himself as one of the best pitchers in Dodgers history.

The left-hander owns a lifetime record of 145-66 in 1,961 career innings, having posted a 2.35 ERA, 2.61 FIP and 1.00 WHIP with 2,151 strikeouts.

Kershaw was selected to his first of seven consecutive All-Star appearances in 2011, and later earned his first Gold Glove and Cy Young Award at the conclusion of the year.

He added two more Cy Young Awards in 2013 and ’14 while also taking home MVP honors during the latter. All-in-all, Kershaw has tallied seven consecutive top-five finishes in Cy Young voting and four top-10 places in MVP voting.

Despite recently joining the 30-years-old club, Kershaw has shown no signs of slowing down. In four starts this season, he has posted a minuscule 1.73 ERA, 3.02 FIP and 0.89 across 26 innings with 31 strikeouts to just three walks.

For Scherzer, he has enjoyed similar success during the same span. Albeit with three different teams, rather than one.

Scherzer began his career with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008 and spent just two seasons there before being traded to the Detroit Tigers prior to the 2010 season.

That’s where Scherzer broke out as an elite pitcher and earned his first career Cy Young Award in 2013. That season also marked the stretch of five consecutive All-Star appearances and five straight top-five finishes in Cy Young voting for the right-hander.

Since he signed with the Nationals prior to the 2015 season, Scherzer has elevated his game to even greater heights. He has logged over 200 innings in each season with Washington, while capturing two additional Cy Young Awards to boot.

Like Kershaw, Scherzer has excelled in the early part of his 2018 campaign. He currently leads the NL with three wins behind a 1.33 ERA, 1.73 FIP and 0.67 WHIP across 27 innings.

Kershaw and Scherzer have faced off just two previous times since their respective rookie campaigns in 2008. The first matchup took place in September of that year, where the Dodgers came out victorious by a final score of 5-3.

Scherzer allowed three runs over five innings with 11 strikeouts in the contest, but didn’t factor into the equation. Kershaw, meanwhile, yielded three runs over four innings while also being tabbed with a no-decision.

The next meeting wouldn take place nearly eight years later in Game 1 of the 2016 National League Division Series. This one, understandably, carried more significance, given the track record of both pitchers and the fact that it was the postseason.

Scherzer struggled early on, yielding four runs in the first three innings. But he would keep the Nationals at bay with three scoreless frames to conclude his outing.

It was all for naught, however, as the Dodgers held on to a 4-3 lead and took the first game of the series. Kershaw wasn’t at his best, yielding three runs over five innings, but the bullpen solidified the victory with four shutout frames.