No perfect game for Clayton Kershaw — but one of the best pitching performances in baseball history

No hits.

No walks.

Fifteen strikeouts.

A Jeremiah Johnson beard.

Los Angeles Dodger Clayton Kershaw just made baseball history.

“It was just so much fun, I can’t explain it,” Kershaw said after pitching a no-hitter against the Colorado Rockies in a 8-0 victory on Wednesday. “As far as individual games go, I’ll remember this the rest of my life.”

Under clear skies at Dodger Stadium in the City of Angels, Kershaw pitched the 284th no-hitter since baseball statisticians crawled out from under rocks sometime in the 19th century.

Alas: Every no-hitter is a perfect game that could have been.

Kershaw’s flawless performance would have been the 24th perfect game ever if not for an error made by shortstop Hanley Ramirez in a routine 6-3 play in the seventh inning.

After the game, Ramirez offered an existential response to his mistake.

“Tough play, you know?” he said.

Though not a perfect game, Kershaw’s nine innings compare well with baseball’s other storied pitching feats.

Using one metric — the Bill James game score, which baseball wonks can read about here – David Schoenfield at ESPN made the case “that Kershaw just threw the second-most dominant game in baseball history.”

Why? Kershaw threw just 107 pitches, fewer than were thrown in some perfect games, and struck out more players than in some perfect games.

Contemplating such arcana, Schoenfield went even further.

“So maybe the record books won’t list this game as one of the 23 perfect games in major league history,” he wrote. “We’ll have to settle for simply maybe the best ever.”

Justin Moyer is deputy editor of the Morning Mix.
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