Clayton Kershaw’s numbers this season have elevated his status as one of the best pitchers in the game to a National League MVP candidate.
Heading into Tuesday’s start against the Washington Nationals, Kershaw is 16-3 with a 1.73 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. After having his 11-game winning streak snapped in a complete-game loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, the southpaw has bounced back with consecutive wins.
In an interview with ESPN’s Buster Olney that aired on a Sunday episode of SportsCenter, Kershaw was asked how he believes he compares to Sandy Koufax:
I don’t know. It’s hard to compare probably, first of all. Just because, I’m not going to throw 300 innings in a season, I’m not going to strikeout 300 guys in a season. The numbers that he put up are ridiculous. I’m not trying to compete with him there. I’m just trying to be me.
Kershaw also added he doesn’t believe he belongs in the same category as Koufax:
The other thing too, is I don’t ever want to be put in the same category as him. I don’t ever want to take anything away from him at all. I don’t feel like I’m even close to there yet. So, I’ve got a long time to go for that.”
As for Kershaw’s statement that anything short of the World Series for the Los Angeles Dodgers would be a failure, he didn’t backpedal on his August remarks:
I feel like every team should be that way. If you don’t win the World Series, it’s not necessarily a lost year, but that’s why we’re all playing the game. That’s what we’re all trying to get to. A lot of people made a big deal about that when I said that early on. I stand by it. ‘It’s World Series or bust.’ But it’s not any added pressure. You win the World Series or you didn’t have a successful year.”
Kershaw’s 16 wins are tied for the MLB lead, and he leads the Majors in both ERA and WHIP. Should the Dodger ace finish with a sub-2.00 ERA for a second consecutive season, he would be the first starter to do so since Greg Maddux accomplished the feat in 1994-95.
Complete video of Kershaw’s interview: