Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Fantasy owners received plenty from pitchers on what Fantasy Sports Editor Steve Schwarz nicknamed the "day of the batter massacre".
Six different pitchers threw six scoreless innings or more and four other pitchers worked seven or more innings, allowing two runs or fewer on Thursday.
On a day with so many great performances on the mound, it is easy to write about any one of them, but one guy still should catch eyes above all the rest: Clayton Kershaw.
Having Kershaw on one's fantasy team is a double edged sword. It obviously comes with possessing the number one ranked starting pitcher in fantasy. It also comes with the expectation he will win every time he pitches.
Because that expectation is so high, we sometimes take him for granted. Kershaw is 15-3 with a 1.82 ERA, 184 strikeouts and 0.828 WHIP. So when he pitches like he did last week against Milwaukee, a complete game loss with three earned runs allowed, we are disappointed. Meanwhile he still finished the game, kept his team in the contest, struck out 11 and walked none.
We were almost disappointed again on Thursday because through seven and a half innings, Padres starter Tyson Ross had out-pitched Kershaw (or the Dodgers offense was silent again) as San Diego led Los Angeles, 1-0. It was only when Dodgers' infielder Justin Turner hit a two-run bomb did Kershaw owners exhale a little bit.
Kershaw may have just two victories in his last four starts, but he is tied with the National League lead with 15 wins and his earned run average hasn't been above 2.00 since Independence Day. He leads the National League in K/9 with 10.80 and has the second lowest BB/9 at 1.17. His OPS against is a remarkable .519.
Fantasy owners have seen dominate pitchers come and go: Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum, C.C. Sabathia. In their primes, all arguably as dominate or at least nearly as dominate as Kershaw at his best.
Fantasy owners have even seen a pitcher recently win the MVP award (Justin Verlander), which Kershaw could do for the first time in the National League since 1968.
But Kershaw is special.
He is the only guy left in the game where when the manager gives him the ball, you have to pry it out of his hands to take him out. Kershaw has thrown six complete games, more than 27 teams (two of the others have six as well and the third is the Dodgers). He is also the only left-handed pitcher ever to win two CY Young awards before the age of 26.
This column, however, is not arguing that Kershaw will be a key component to your fantasy success this fall. We all know that. This column isn't even debating whether Kershaw is the best in the game because we already know that too.
All it's trying to say is as owners make their preparations to chase down that elusive fantasy championship this September, take a minute to watch this guy pitch. There are so many great pitchers today, but he is still the best at what he does and one of the most dominate of all-time.
And as all the other names previously mentioned have proved, it is hard to stay on top for too long. Appreciate it while it's here.