Game 1 of the 2018 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox will feature starting pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale. That pair gives us something we’ve never seen in a Game 1 before.
Kershaw struck out a career-high 301 batters in 2015. Sale, meanwhile, struck out 308 batters in 2017. This will mark the first Game 1 in history between two starters who have each struck out 300 or more batters in a season.
Tonight's starting-pitcher matchup of @ClaytonKersh22 and Chris Sale is the first World Series Game 1 in MLB history where each starter has had a 300-K season.
— John Fisher (@JohnnyPhisher) October 23, 2018
On the one hand, this feels about right. Hitters strike out more now than ever before. The league wide strikeout record fell for the 11th straight season in 2018.
That said, in bygone eras, pitchers threw far more innings.
Teams used to have starting rotations of only four men. Going back far enough, three or even two-man rotations were used. Additionally, pitchers used to deep in a game on a far more regular basis than we see today, even from the game’s best starters.
The fact that this has happened before shows some things. One, modern hitters obviously don’t care as much about striking out as their older counterparts did. Two, while the modern pitchers may not throw as many innings as the ones before them did, they are quite nasty when they do toe the rubber.