Clayton Kershaw is one season removed from winning his second Cy Young Award, yet his 2014 campaign has arguably been his most dominant.
The Dodger ace is 14-2 with a 1.78 ERA and 0.86 WHIP. Kershaw’s win total is tied for best in the Majors, so too is his WHIP and he leads in ERA. The lefty also leads the Majors in complete games with five; one of which was a no-hitter that was a Hanley Ramirez error from being a perfect game.
Kershaw was a guest on ESPN’s The Herd With Colin Cowherd and discussed the arsenal of pitches he has at his disposal:
My changeup is still a pretty big work in progress. I don’t throw that a whole lot. It takes a while. I didn’t start throwing a slider until 2010 maybe. Basically before that, I was just fastball and curve ball. I didn’t really know where those were going either.”
Kershaw missed just over one month this season with a shoulder injury, which he told Cowherd he’s fully recovered from and hopes the time off will prove to be beneficial moving forward:
I feel good. Obviously being hurt was no fun that first month of the season. But maybe it’ll end up being a blessing down the stretch. I feel strong right now and hopefully feel this way through October.”
As for the Dodgers postseason hopes, Kershaw believes anything short of a World Series would be a failure:
I think it was almost like that last year, too. Coming up short didn’t feel good, and now we have that experience of what it’s like to go deep and not win. Especially with the team we have now and the guys brought in from last year, we feel like it’s World Series or bust, for sure.”
Along with Kershaw, Yasiel Puig figures to play an instrumental role in the Dodgers winning a World Series and the left-hander discussed what it’s like having Puig as a teammate:
He’s very fun to watch. I think it’s just the unknown. You just never know what could happen that night and that’s pretty exciting. He’s a kid. I mean he really is. He’s like a 12 year old trapped in a man’s body.”
With a payroll in excess of $200 million, the Dodgers have plenty of stars and large personalities on the roster, which Kerhaw views as a positive:
A ton of different personalities. I think that’s part of the reason why we’re good. We’ve got so many different guys that bring so much different stuff to the table. As long as you’re winning, all that stuff becomes quirky and that’s just the way it is. If you start losing, it’s all these superstars have too many big personalities and something’s got to change. It’s really just the perception of winning.”
Entering Tuesday, the Dodgers hold a 5.0-game lead over the San Francisco Giants in the NL West standings and are 1.5 games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers for the best record in the NL.
Should the Dodgers maintain their position, it would ensure homefield advantage throughout the NL playoffs, which was a benefit they didn’t have last season.
Dodgers History: MLB Facts About Clayton Kershaw’s No-Hitter