What was keeping Kershaw from being in form in 9 innings?



Point one: Clayton Kershaw says shortened spring training is the reason he didn’t continue his perfect game until the eighth inning last week.

He gets paid $2 million a month. What did he do during the offseason? At least he should have started his personal training at the end of January or February.

His excuse is just that, an excuse, not a good reason. That said, I still keep my Kershaw rookie cards.

Hall of Famer Steve Carlton was baseball's last 300-inning pitcher 42 years ago.

Second point: There will never be a 300 inning pitcher again. Maybe never another 250 inning pitcher.

With 33 starts and an average of six races per start, 200 races will be rare. I hate modern baseball.


DON’T BLAM DAVE:Sorry, but Dave Roberts was right when he shot a perfect Clayton Kershaw | KEN WILLIS

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Over the past two generations of ballplayers, we’ve gradually passed a happy medium of 60 with innings pitched.

The purest of purists might reflect romantically on the mustache handlebar era of the game, when Old Hoss Radbourn or Pud Galvin would lead the league with some 650 innings pitched. The 1½ pitcher rotation was not for the weak.

The negative compromise, often, was dead arm at 30, dead at 40. Give or take.

Charles Gardner

The third decade of the 20th century brought rotations of four players and over 300 innings as the normal high water mark. It ended in 1980 when Steve Carlton kicked off the final 300-inning season. Since then, we’ve gone to five-man rotations, specialized bullpen, and the fear of blowing big investments in valuable weapons.

Last year, Philly’s Zack Wheeler led the Majors with 213 innings pitched. He also finished tied for the lead with three complete games (THREE!) and two shutouts – that was 10 days on the job for the first Carlton.

I don’t join you in hating modern baseball, but I could lead the league in missing out on better baseball.


Great final run for Rory McIlroy at the Masters. But I think I noticed a trend. It doesn’t seem to play well when it’s windy.

It was windy at the Ryder Cup last year and he didn’t play very well. He is an excellent ball striker but he hits the ball very high which the wind affects more.

Compare that with Shane Lowry who seems to excel on windy days. If Rory doesn’t learn to fly the ball lower when needed, his career is in danger of collapsing as it has since 2014, the year of his last major.

What do you think?



Between 2011 and 2014, Rory seemed to win a major (four of them) or not even come close. Since then, he has collected 14 top 10s in 27 majors, but no wins. He’s also become a husband and father since his last major, which I’m sure is a statistical fluke.

Augusta generally smiles at the high-ball hitter (as most courses do), but in the wind, the demanding nature of most major championship venues demands adaptation. . . suddenly I hear the voice of Bobby Jones in my head. Let’s move on.


There’s another new list of nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame, but still the glaring omission of Smokey Yunick.

Yes, I have read and reread his book. Maybe next year.


Smokey Yunick


I’m not saying the NASCAR Hall of Fame process resembles a Cuban election, but the candidates are closer to home than the diverse electoral panel. No nomination, no luck in the election.

So no Smokey, and that’s fine. He’s in other rooms, and frankly, since he’s long gone and wouldn’t be available for an invaluable acceptance speech, the fun factor would be much diminished.

Now, to close the proceedings, the last episode of the Great Golf Joke Tour. . .


I know you probably won’t print this one, but here goes.

A wife comes home frustrated from her Ladies 9-Holers golf league and slaps her husband.

“What was THAT for? he asks to know.

His sullen response: “I’m hitting all fat today.”



Bring them in and keep them clean.

I laugh. Don’t keep them clean. Except for the ones you want to print.

— Contact Ken Willis at [email protected]


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