The reigning National League MVP and Cy Young winner, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw struggled a bit to begin the 2015 season, but since the turn of June the southpaw has been as good as he’s every been.
His most recent start, Wednesday night against the Philadelphia Phillies, was perhaps his best of the season as he threw a complete game shutout, striking out 13. After the game, Kershaw talked about how nice it was to finally break through and finish out a game. “It felt great to get a win. It was a lot of fun to finish a game, obviously that’s the goal set out every single time,” Kershaw said. “It was just a good win for the team, getting five runs early like that and really just a good game all the way around.”
Kershaw is 6-6 with a 2.85 ERA, 2.40 FIP and a league-leading 160 strikeouts on the season. Since June 1 he has struck out 66 in 57.2 innings, while yielding a 1.72 ERA. On Wednesday, he threw a season high 123 pitches, something that he said wouldn’t have happened if he didn’t have such a long rest after the start because of the All-Star break.
“It helped out that I have a long time off right now going into the break helped make Donny’s decision a little easier for the ninth there, but throwing a complete game and shaking the guys hands at the end of the game that’s what Sandy always said, that’s the goal.”
It also appeared as if Dodgers pitching coach Ricky Honeycutt talked manager Don Mattingly into letting Kershaw finish out the game, something Kershaw said he is thankful for. “If you’re not gonna do it then, what’s the right, perfect situation to throw a complete game? Obviously giving up a leadoff double probably doesn’t help my cause for the next time out but I guess I got to thank Honey for lobbying a little bit.”
Despite what seems like a subpar first half for Kershaw, he ranks first in the league in strikeouts and K/9, seventh in the NL in WHIP and third in K/Walk ratio. With the success of Zack Greinke, the duo could be even more deadly down the stretch than they have been in season’s past.