Now is a good time to appreciate the greatness of Clayton Kershaw.
The Los Angeles Dodgers selected the left-hander with the No. 7 pick in the 2006 draft. Not even two years later, he jolted a "Holy mackerel!" out of Vin Scully with one of his trademark curveballs in a spring training game. He made his major league debut shortly thereafter on May 25, 2008, and what's followed is nothing short of legendary.
In 11 seasons with the Dodgers, Kershaw has been a National League All-Star seven times, a Cy Young Award winner three times and an MVP winner once. He came a fielding error away from a perfect game in 2014. He's led the NL in strikeouts three times and in ERA five times.
For that matter, Kershaw's 2.39 career ERA is the best of any pitcher over the last 90 years. With adjustments for ballparks and other factors, his 159 career ERA+ is the best of all time.
Such is the greatness of Clayton Kershaw: As of right now, he's arguably the best pitcher to ever come through Major League Baseball.
But as they are wont to do, the passing of time and the ravages of age are changing things.
It's been a while since all was truly well with Kershaw, and his present status is no step in the right direction. The 30-year-old (31 on March 19) was sidelined by inflammation in his left shoulder in February. The Dodgers haven't yet ruled him out for Opening Day on March 28 against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium, but they're not committing to him being ready either.