Clayton Kershaw has been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past two seasons. In 2013, he was the only bright spot through what was a miserable first half of the year. As the Dodgers have started winning, Kershaw’s profile has done nothing but improve throughout the months of July, August and September. With that being said, there are some compelling reasons why he should be awarded the NL C.Y. Young award without any second thoughts.
1) He Gives You At Least Six Innings A Game
The first thing that you need to see out of the top pitcher in his league is the ability to go deep into games. Since July 21st, Kershaw has failed to go six innings in a start only twice. During that span, he has averaged roughly seven innings a start with an average of seven strikeouts per appearance. Most importantly, he has given up more than three runs only twice in his last 10 starts. That is consistency that few pitchers offer these days.
2) He Leads The NL In Strikeouts And ERA
Pitchers who strike a lot of batters out tend to throw more pitches than those who get ground ball outs or outs via the fly ball. During the course of a game, a higher pitch count wears a pitcher down and causes him to throw pitches that hitters can make contact with. With Kershaw, it doesn’t really matter how many innings he goes. He is going to keep batters swinging and missing throughout the entire game. For the season, Kershaw hs 208 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.92.
3) Batters Are Hitting .208 Against Him This Year
Hitters are having a terrible time trying to get on base against Kershaw this year. If you are playing at Dodger Stadium, you might as well just skip your turn at bat as hitters are only batting .197 when he pitches at home. Another sign of his greatness at home is his WHIP of .110. That means only one batter gets on base per inning on average when Kershaw takes the mound.
4) The Bats Are Starting To Heat Up For L.A
A pitcher is judged by the number of wins that he gets during the season. While this may be unfair, many great pitchers have been ostracised for having a down year simply because their team wasn’t providing enough run support for him to win games. That was exactly the case with Kershaw earlier this year. However, now that the Dodgers are starting to score runs on a regular basis, it is more likely that Kershaw will pad his win total. Over his last 10 starts, he is 5-2 compared with the 9-6 record he had during the first 3+ months of the season.
5) There Aren’t Many Great Pitchers In The NL
On paper, it looked like Matt Harvey of the New York Mets was the only pitcher who was giving Kershaw a serious run for the honor. While Jose Fernandez of the Marlins is going to be a great pitcher going forward, he doesn’t have the track record needed to sway voters in the 2013 race. When Harvey went down with an elbow injury earlier in the year, it signaled the end of the C.Y. Young race before it had the chance to develop into something more dramatic.
The 2014 Cy Young race should be a three person battle between Kershaw, Matt Harvey and Jose Fernandez. However, it is prudent to reward Kershaw this year for the work that he has done to keep the Dodgers afloat until reinforcements were able to arrive. Now that the Dodgers are poised to make the playoffs, he will have a grand stage to show just how deserving of the award he is.