GIF of the week: Clayton Kershaw’s curveball

June 23

(Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

Just weeks after teammate Josh Beckett tossed the first no-hitter of the season, Clayton Kershaw impressed baseball fans with one of the most dominating pitching performances in the modern baseball era, featuring a line of nine innings pitched, zero hits, zero walks and 15 strikeouts.  In fact, only Kerry Wood’s 105 Gamescore from his classic 20 strikeout game ranks higher than Kershaw’s 102 Gamescore from Wednesday night’s game.

Clearly, Kershaw was absolutely dealing as he lit up the scoreboard with 15 strikeouts.  Here’s a fine example with a gorgeous backwards-K to Wilin Rosario featuring his signature looping curveball:


(GIF courtesy of Pitcher GIFs)

It takes a few watches to fully comprehend the beauty of Kershaw’s hook.  Notice how the pitch reaches as high as eye-level well off the plate before gracefully falling to the bottom of the outside corner for the called strike.  Rosario’s initially raised his hands and prepared his hips to present an offering to a ‘high and away’ pitch, but was left frozen as the ball suddenly dropped into the zone for the strikeout.

After completing the best start of his career, Clayton Kershaw now boasts 86 strikeouts and only eight walks over his first 64.1 IP of the season, rendering career best rates in both K/9 (12.03) and BB/9 (1.12).  We knew Kershaw was the best pitcher in baseball before the 2014 season, but is it possible that the pitcher with a 1.53 xFIP and 58.1 percent groundball rate is getting, dare I say…better?!

Nick Pollack writes for Pitcher GIFs and can found making an excessive amount of GIFs on Twitter @PitcherGifs.

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