With his 21st win Wednesday, Clayton Kershaw arguably completed one of the most-dominant regular seasons seen from a starting pitcher that has all but assured him a third Cy Young Award in four years.
Kershaw’s 21 wins leads the Majors, so too does his 1.77 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, six complete games and strikeouts per nine innings (10.85), among other statistics. In a sport that’s transitioned toward sabremetrics and done away with some traditional stats, Kershaw becoming the first pitcher to lead the Majors in ERA for a fourth consecutive season can’t be ignored.
The season Kershaw put together not only placed him at the forefront of the Cy Young conversation, but MVP consideration as well. Although Kershaw did nothing but add to his case for MVP in Wednesday’s win, he prefers to focus on the postseason, according to ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon:
MVP is something I don’t really think about right now, because we have so many guys who contribute day in and day out, so obviously I’m honored by the thought of it but right now we’re trying to win 11 more games.”
With the Dodgers having clinched the NL West, they’ll likely face the St. Louis Cardinals in a rematch of the 2013 NLDS. Kershaw is hoping the experience gained last season will aid the Dodgers a second time around:
Me, personally, I succeeded and I also failed in that last game. We know what to expect, we know the atmospheres to expect and it looks like we might play the Cardinals again, so it could be a rematch and we know what that environment’s going to be like and, hopefully, that helps.”
The Dodgers have three regular season games remaining and begin their final series Friday against the Colorado Rockies. They currently are 2.5 games back of the Washington Nationals for the best record in the NL, but have secured home-field advantage in the NLDS.
Kershaw will now get eight days of rest before taking the mound for Game 1 of the NLDS and looking to build on his historic 2014 regular season.