Clayton Kershaw had his 11-game winning streak snapped on Sunday, but it’s done little to dispel the notion he’s worthy of National League MVP consideration.
In the loss, Kershaw allowed three runs in a complete game and struck out 11. The left-hander now has six complete games this season, which is best in MLB and leads in ERA (1.86) and WHIP (0.84). Kershaw’s 14 wins are second only to a trio of pitchers with 15, though among the group he holds the fewest losses (three).
Kershaw also threw a no-hitter with the most strikeouts (15) without issuing a walk in MLB history. Pitchers typically fight an uphill battle for MVP consideration given they play only once every five days.
Manager Don Mattingly recently gave Kershaw his vote, acknowledging a shift in his thinking from his days as a player. Carl Crawford joined those in support of the southpaw, via ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon:
Sometimes, when you’re dominant like that, you deserve it,” said Carl Crawford. “It’s got to be an extreme case, though, not like a normal, regular good season. It’s got to be an overwhelming case. I think it feels like that this year with Kershaw.”
Scott Van Slyke also believes Kershaw may be on the path of being the clearcut vote for MVP:
I wouldn’t be against it. I wouldn’t be like, ‘Oh, it’s Clayton. I can’t believe it,’ “ said Dodgers outfielder Scott Van Slyke. “If he keeps going, I might be of the opinion that he got snubbed.”
Justin Verlander won the American League MVP and Cy Young in 2011. In terms of NL pitchers, Bob Gibson was the last to be named NL MVP (1968). While Kershaw may face difficulty in convincing voters he’s worthy of MVP consideration, he’s widely considered a heavy favorite to win his third Cy Young in four years.
Kershaw’s next scheduled start is Friday against the New York Mets, who he’s yet to face this season.
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