Since being selected No. 7 overall by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2006 MLB Draft, enormous pressure and expectations have been placed on Clayton Kersahw’s left arm.
Kershaw debuted with the Dodgers in 2008 and has been a staple in the starting rotation since. Now in his seventh season, Kershaw has two Cy Young Awards to his name, three trips to the All-Star Game, and is widely recognized as one of the, if not the, best pitcher in baseball.
Coming off another Cy Young Award-winning season, 2014 initially didn’t go as planned for the Texan. Kershaw started the first game of the Opening Series in Australia and was first scratched from his next scheduled start, which was the Dodgers’ domestic opener in San Diego.
That was then followed by a trip to the disabled list due to flammation in his back. Kershaw returned from the DL May 6 and is 2-2 in six starts since being reinstated. Amid a rainy setting at Coors Field Sunday, Kershaw struck out nine and threw a complete game that was called after 5.5 innings of play and a rain delay.
Following the win, manager Don Mattingly marveled at his left-hander’s talent, via ESPN LA:
Teams that I’ve coached and played on, I don’t think we had anybody quite like him,” Mattingly said. “I’ve seen some pretty good guys in (Mike) Mussina and (Andy) Pettitte, but not quite the same as Clayton.”
The nine strikeouts Kershaw collected marks the fourth time in five games he’s done so and ties his single-game high this season. For as talented and dominant as Kershaw is, he is work ethic is equally as impressive; Kershaw is often the first Dodger on the field to go through individual workouts.
His dedication has paid dividends as Kershaw led MLB with the lowest ERA total from 2011-2013 and in wins above replacement in 2013. Along with Zack Greinke, the left-hander has formed a two-headed monster at the top of the starting rotation, with each signed to long-term contracts.
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