There’s no denying it–Clayton Kershaw is one of the most dominating pitchers in baseball. The stud lefty often tosses shutouts with double digit strikeouts on his way to earning another win for the Los Angeles Dodgers. While someone that can usually be counted on to win, there are varied responses from the hitters on how they handle him. Amazingly some hitters have handled him well and made him look like a journeyman reliever. These are the best hitters against Clayton Kershaw.
Who? A player who has spent his career primarily as a bench player, Chris Denorfia doesn’t understand what the big deal is about Kershaw. In over 30 plate appearances, Denorfia has a batting average above .300 when Kershaw is on the mound. He also has 3 home runs which is a bit of a surprise considering he is not someone known for the long ball. If Kershaw was to ever have a perfect game going against the San Diego Padres, you better believe Denorfia will be the one to break it up.
The numbers Adam Dunn has against Kershaw are outstanding and in many way unbelievable. Dunn, who has made a career out of hitting home runs or striking out, actually has more home runs against Kershaw than he does strikeouts. In 14 plate appearances Dunn has hit 4 home runs and only struckout 3 times. Add to that, Dunn has a .615 batting average when facing the two-time Cy Young winner. A valuable lesson can be learned from Dunn when facing Kershaw and that’s to swing hard.
Destroying the Houston Astros might be harder than Kershaw thinks because they have one guy in the lineup who has hit him well: Dexter Fowler. The veteran outfielder has more hits off of Kershaw than anyone else with 16 of them, earning him a .421 batting average. While Fowler has yet to take Kershaw yard and only has a single run batted in against him, he has shown small-ball might be the way to defeat a dominant pitcher. Not all has been perfect for Fowler though as Kershaw has managed to still strike him out 9 times.
Patience is a virtue and when Carlos Ruiz faces Kershaw he keeps that in mind. Ruiz has stepped up to the plate over 20 times with Kershaw on the mound. Ruiz has managed to draw 6 walks while only striking out 3 times. Overall he has a .375 batting average including 1 home run and 5 RBIs. Ruiz’s .545 on-base percentage against Kershaw is also impressive as he remains one of the few to reach base more often than not against the him.
Outfielder Jayson Werth has managed to face Kershaw 30 times now. A handful of strikeouts, he has still managed to fight off pitches and get himself on base. Werth has taken Kershaw deep twice, both solo shots. The rest of Werth’s 7 hits against Kershaw have all been singles, totaling up for a .333 batting average when facing him. Werth knows that when facing Kershaw you must take what you can get and be grateful for it.
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