Clayton Kershaw had his 11-game winning streak snapped with Saturday’s loss, though it’s not necessarily an indictment on the southpaw.
Kershaw threw another complete game, struck out 11 and pitched well enough to earn a win on most nights. He was hurt by two home runs — one two-run homer and a solo shot — and otherwise had another typical outing.
The loss prevented Kershaw from tying Johnny Cueto with an MLB-best 15 wins on the season and his ERA saw a slight raise to 1.86, which is still best in the Majors; so too is Kershaw’s 0.84 WHIP.
Kershaw’s performance this season has placed him at the forefront of consideration for both the Cy Young award and National League MVP. Getting a first-hand look at Kershaw, manager Don Mattingly changed his stance from his playing days and views the lefty as a viable MVP candidate, according to Jill Painter of the LA Daily News:
I flip-flopped when I played,” said Mattingly. “As a manager, you just see the value in a guy like what Clayton has been able to give you. I do think it needs to be one of those years where it seems like it’s extraordinary. … This has been one of those years. I see the value in that guy as opposed to when I was playing, not that you didn’t see value in pitching, but it seemed like it was a different thing.”
Mattingly compared Kershaw to Roger Clemens and the value both pitchers bring to the table:
Those guys seem to be the guys that are going seven, eight innings almost every time out. But it saved the bullpen and they allow you to use your bullpen the day before and rest you the day of, so just the value there is just a broad value that you don’t really always see just on that day.”
A.J. Ellis shared a similar sentiment regarding Kershaw and his answering the bell:
Knowing how much the bullpen has been used, for Clayton to know that he needed to give us eight-nine innings and to deliver that, that’s valuable to me.”
The complete game was Kershaw’s sixth this season, which is tops in MLB. He’s also one of three pitchers this season who have thrown a no-hitter, but became the first in MLB history to do so with at least 15 strikeouts and no walks.
Should Kershaw take home both the MVP and Cy Young award, he’d be the first pitcher to do so since Justin Verlander in 2011. The last NL pitcher to be named MVP was Bob Gibson in 1968. Sandy Koufax, seemingly forever linked to Kershaw, was named the NL MVP in 1963.
Dodgers History: MLB Facts About Clayton Kershaw’s No-Hitter