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Jose Fernandez Has Been In Clayton Kershaw Territory Over The Last Month

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The three best pitchers in the National League this year have been Clayton Kershaw, Jake Arrieta and Jose Fernandez — in that order. But over their last six starts, or basically over the last calendar month, it’s an interesting debate as to who has been the best. Here’s how it breaks down:

Clayton Kershaw: 6 starts, 5-0, 0.96 ERA, 55 strikeouts in 46.2 innings with opponents hitting .154 with a .387 OPS. The Dodgers are 6-0 in Kershaw’s last six starts.

Jake Arrieta: 6 starts, 3-1, 2.92 ERA, 50 strikeouts in 37 innings with opponents hitting .218 with a .572 OPS. The Cubs are 4-2 in Arrieta’s last six starts.

Jose Fernandez: 6 starts, 6-0, 0.66 ERA, 63 strikeouts in 41 innings with opponents hitting .179 with a .478 OPS. The Marlins are 6-0 in Fernandez’s last six starts.

If the season ended today, I would imagine that Kershaw would win the National League Cy Young award unanimously. I don’t think there’s any disputing that. But the point is more to shine some light on what Fernandez has been doing over the last month, for a Marlins team that is three games over .500, and just four games back of the first place Washington Nationals. For a division that boasts the likes of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Stephen Strasburg, Aaron Nola and Max Scherzer, Fernandez is at the top of the pile.

Fernandez is actually riding a streak of eight consecutive starts with a win, which moved him from 1-2 to 9-2 on the year. It’s also incredible to see where the Marlins and Dodgers would be without these two guys. Miami is 30-27 this season, but they’re 20-25 in games not started by Fernandez, while the Dodgers are 31-27, and they’re 20-26 in games not started by Kershaw.

But if you’re looking at who has been “better” over the last month, there’s really no wrong answer between Fernandez and Kershaw. Fernandez has faced 150 batters over this six-game stretch, and struck out 63 of them (42%). Kershaw has faced 162 batters over his last six starts, and he’s struck out 55 of them (34%). Kershaw gets the nod in innings and opponents batting average and OPS, but Fernandez has the upper hand in strikeouts and ERA. Probably the biggest reason why there’s no wrong answer here is because both of their teams are unbeaten every time they’ve taken the mound over the last month.