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Dodgers Dugout: Who wins, Clayton Kershaw vs. Sandy Koufax? (Hint: His last name starts with K)

Dodgers Dugout: Who wins, Clayton Kershaw vs. Sandy Koufax? (Hint: His last name starts with K)
Sandy Koufax and Clayton Kershaw shake hands in 2013. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and there are only six games left in the season.

Still in the driver’s seat?

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How many people got nervous when the Dodgers lost to San Diego on Friday? Turns out there was no reason, as the team righted the ship quickly and now heads into a three-game series against Arizona with a 1 ½ game lead over Colorado for first place in the NL West.

The Dodgers have six games remaining, the Rockies have seven. The Rockies will make up that extra game Thursday against Philadelphia. Let’s assume the Rockies win that game. That effectively means that the Dodgers are one game ahead of Colorado with six to play. The Dodgers play Arizona and San Francisco on the road, while the Rockies play Philadelphia and Washington at home.

I’m not going to go on a long monologue on what the team needs to do. You know it as well as I. If they go 4-2 over their last six games, the Rockies will need to go 6-1 to tie them. If the Dodgers go 5-1, the Rockies will have to go 7-0. It’s not going to be easy. I have great trepidation over those final three games in San Francisco, and even though the Diamondbacks pretty much rolled over and died against the Rockies over the weekend, I have a feeling they will come roaring back to life against the Dodgers.

In other words, a playoff spot is far from guaranteed, but I’d rather be the Dodgers right now than the Rockies.

Kershaw vs. Koufax

Clayton Kershaw made his 314th start for the Dodgers Thursday against Colorado. You know who else made exactly 314 starts for the Dodgers? Sandy Koufax. Let’s compare the numbers:

Starts

Kershaw: 314

Koufax: 314

Innings pitched

Kershaw: 2,082 1/3 (6.63 per start)

Koufax: 2,202 1/3 (7.01 per start)

Record

Kershaw: 152-69

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Koufax: 159-85

Complete games

Kershaw: 25

Koufax: 137

Shutouts

Kershaw: 15

Koufax: 40

ERA

Kershaw: 2.37

Koufax: 2.71

Opp. Batting average

Kershaw: .207

Koufax: .205

Opp. OB%

Kershaw: .261

Koufax: .272

Opp. SLG%

Kershaw: .310

Koufax: .318

WHIP

Kershaw: 1.002

Koufax: 1.088

Strikeouts

Kershaw: 2,261

Koufax: 2,274

K/9IP

Kershaw: 9.8

Koufax: 9.3

SO/W

Kershaw: 4.24

Koufax: 3.06

Cy Young Awards

Kershaw: 3

Koufax: 3

World Series titles

Kershaw: 0

Koufax: 4 (1955, ’59, ’63, ’65)

Postseason record

Kershaw: 7-7, 4.35 ERA

Koufax: 4-3, 0.95 ERA

So, who are you taking to anchor your rotation, knowing that Koufax never pitched another game after start 314, while Kershaw hopefully has a few more years left in him?

I’m going with Koufax. But both pitchers are among the best ever.

Some great news

Remember how, a few newsletters ago, I asked you all to vote in a poll on what numbers the Dodgers should retire if they ever waive their unwritten rule to retire numbers of only those in the Hall of Fame as a Dodger? Well, the Dodgers unveiled a surprise last week, and while it isn’t a number retirement, it’s the next best thing.

Fernando Valenzuela (first in your voting), Don Newcombe (third) and Steve Garvey (fifth) were announced as the inaugural class of “Legends of Dodger Baseball.” They will get plaques at Dodger Stadium, and an induction ceremony next year.

According to Times baseball columnist Bill Shaikin, Dodgers president Stan Kasten hinted in a statement that a team museum would be coming soon — or, as he put it, “the creation of a permanent home to celebrate the great players, personnel and moments that have helped make the Dodgers one of the most storied institutions in professional sports.”

Kasten said the Legends program and the museum were among “many new developments that we plan to roll out as we approach the 2020 All-Star Game.”

And I’m sure the men who finished second and fourth in your voting, Gil Hodges and Orel Hershiser, will follow in years to come.

It’s great news and long overdue, and I applaud the team for turning a wider spotlight onto the rich history this team has.

What’s next?

Let’s take a look at the remaining schedules for all the teams in the NL West and at the wild-card hunt.

First, the NL West standings

Dodgers, 87-69

Colorado, 85-70, 1 ½ GB

Arizona*, 79-77, 8 GB

San Francisco*, 72-84, 15 GB

San Diego*, 62-94, 25 GB

*-eliminated from division title race

Next, the wild-card standings.

Remember, the top two teams make it to the one-game wild-card playoff. The games behind refers to how far they are behind the second team.

Milwaukee, 89-67

St. Louis, 87-69

Colorado, 85-70 1 ½ GB

Remaining schedules

DODGERS (6 games left)

AWAY (6): Arizona (3), San Francisco (3)

COLORADO (7)

HOME (7): Philadelphia (4), Washington (3)

MILWAUKEE (6)

HOME (3): Detroit (3)

AWAY (3): St. Louis (3)

ST. LOUIS (6)

HOME (3): Milwaukee (3)

AWAY (3): Chicago Cubs (3)

The new guys

Since joining the Dodgers, here’s how the new guys are doing:

Brian Dozier, .182/.298/.336/73 OPS+

Manny Machado, .268/.335/.490/122

David Freese, .321/.441/.536/166

John Axford, 17.18 ERA

Ryan Madson, 8.53 ERA

These names seem familiar

What recently departed Dodgers are doing around the league (through Saturday):

Charlie Culberson, Braves, .281/.331/.493, 119 OPS+.

Brandon McCarthy, Braves, 6-3, 4.92 ERA. On the 60-day DL and has announced his retirement.

Yu Darvish, Cubs, 1-3, 4.95 ERA (on 60-day DL and out for the season with an elbow injury).

Curtis Granderson, Brewers, .239/.347/.430, 114 OPS+ (traded by Toronto to Milwaukee on Aug. 31 for prospect Demi Orimoloye). Hitting .182/.386/.424/118 with the Brewers.

Brandon Morrow, Cubs, 0-0, 22 saves, 1.47 ERA (out for the season with right biceps tendinitis).

Tony Watson, Giants, 4-6, 2.67 ERA.

Chris Hatcher, A's, 3-2, 4.21 ERA.

Luis Avilan, Phillies, 2-1, 3.77 ERA, two saves. (0-0, 3.18 with Phillies).

Trayce Thompson, White Sox, .117/.162/.211 (removed from the 40-man roster and sent to the minors). Hit .213/.278/.363 for triple-A Charlotte.

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Wilmer Font, Rays, 2-3, 5.93 ERA (on 60-day DL with a lat strain).

Sergio Romo, Rays, 3-4, 3.71 ERA, 22 saves.

Logan Forsythe, Twins, .274/.363/.312, 87 OPS+ with the Twins. Hitting .237/.313/.300/69 overall.

Up next

Monday, 6:30 p.m.: Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw, 8-5, 2.51 ERA) at Arizona (Robbie Ray, 6-2, 3.92 ERA).

Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.: Dodgers (Walker Buehler, 7-5, 2.74 ERA) at Arizona (Matt Koch, 5-5, 4.26 ERA).

Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.: Dodgers (Ross Stripling, 8-5. 2.84 ERA) at Arizona (Zack Greinke, 14-11, 3.21 ERA).

And finally

Justin Turner is working to cut down on his errors at third base. Read all about it here.

Have a comment or something you'd like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me and follow me on Twitter: @latimeshouston.

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