Despite struggling in the seventh innings of two separate postseason games, Los Angeles Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw is still considered the best pitcher in baseball.
After a season in which he won his fourth straight ERA title and led the league in wins, Kershaw garnered talk of not only Cy Young, but also MVP. Even though he missed a month with a muscle strain, the left-hander managed to go 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA and 239 strikeouts in 198.1 innings.
Because of those numbers, Kershaw was rewarded with an honor via Ben Badler of Baseball America:
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) October 21, 2014
Kershaw ended the two-year reign of Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s outfielder Mike Trout. He also became the first Dodger to win the award since Matt Kemp in 2011. The award could become one of many for the Dodger ace. He is expected to win the National League Cy Young and has been gaining traction as an MVP candidate. Voting for those awards occurred after the final day of the season, meaning Kershaw’s postseason is not factored into any decisions.
The 26-year-old is already a two-time Cy Young winner and winning another would put him in a tie for fourth-most all-time. In the off-season Kershaw signed a record-breaking seven-year, $215 million deal that will keep him in Los Angeles for the significant future. He combines with Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu to give the Dodgers one of the best starting rotation trios.
In the coming weeks, Kershaw will likely add to his growing collection of awards.