It's hard to argue against a pitcher who tossed arguably the most perfect non-perfect game of all time, and that's exactly what Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw did on Wednesday.
Here's how damn-near perfect Kershaw was: He allowed one base runner on an error – an error that wasn't forced by a hard-hit ball or an errant hop, but rather an error caused by shortstop Hanley Ramirez rushing a throw to first when he could have taken just one more step to set his feet.
Ramirez made that exact play for the second out in the top of the fifth.
Kershaw allowed one hard-hit ball all night, and that was a Josh Rutledge foul ball down the left field line. The only ball that had a chance to be a hit came in the seventh inning off the bat of Troy Tulowitzki, but that grounder up the third base line was backhanded and fired to first by rookie infielder Miguel Rojas -- starting just his seventh Major League game.
Beyond that, Kershaw didn't walk a single hitter, and in fact only had a single three-ball count all night.
And, then, of course, there are the strikeouts. Kershaw tied Warren Spahn's strikeout record for a left-hander in a no-hitter, fanning 15 Colorado Rockies, and using his entire repertoire to do it. Sandy Koufax -- to whom Kershaw is most often compared – needed 113 pitches to get through his perfect game, and struck out 14.
Kershaw got eight of his strikeouts on his slider, six on his curveball and one on an elevated four-seam fastball. Seven Rockies went down swinging on Kershaw's slide-piece and four were baffled into waving at his curveball.
Of Kershaw's 107 pitches, 22 were swung on and missed. Greater than one of every five pitches Kershaw threw was swung on and missed. 75 of his 107 pitches were strikes.
Perhaps the best summation of the game? Nearly every news outlet's headline was some formulation of this: "Kershaw tosses first no-hitter."
Previous Players of the Week
June 9-15: Andrew McCutchen
June 2-8: Adrian Beltre
May 26-June 1: Edwin Encarnacion
May 19-25: Adam Wainwright
May 5-May 11: Seth Smith
April 28-May 4: Troy Tulowitzki
April 21-27: Jose Abreu
April 14-20: Justin Morneau
April 7-13: Justin Upton
March 31-April 6: Giancarlo Stanton
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