Clayton Kershaw took the mound 27 times this season and earned a win in 21 of the outings. He lost only three of his starts, and the Dodgers went 2-1 in outings where Kershaw didn’t earn a decision.
Along the way, Kershaw amassed an 11-game winning streak, strung along 41 consecutive scoreless innings and finished with the ERA title for a fourth straight year — becoming the first pitcher in MLB history to do so.
One of the more impressive seasons seen from a pitcher could be punctuated in the next month with a Cy Young Award (would be third in four years for Kershaw) and Kershaw’s first NL MVP Award.
The Dodger ace regularly deflects attention from himself and credits the team for his success and with the Dodgers set to begin their postseason Friday, Kershaw put his individual accolades into perspective, via Bill Shaikin of the LA Times:
People remember teams. They don’t really remember players that much. They don’t really remember individual success. They remember the World Series. You’re seeing that with [Derek] Jeter. He’s a great player. He hits .300. He has 3,000 hits, all that stuff. But he’s got, what, four or five World Series? That’s why he’s being celebrated the way he is. You need that. At the end of the day, if you want to be remembered in baseball, you need that.”
Kershaw made his postseason debut as a rookie in 2008 when he appeared in two games out of the bullpen against the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL Championship Series. He’s a career 1-3 with a 4.23 ERA in the postseason, however those numbers can be slightly deceiving.
Kershaw started the pivotal Game 4 of the 2013 NLDS on short rest and didn’t earn a decision, though the Dodgers won the game and thus the series. As for the inflated ERA, Kershaw allowed seven runs in Game 6 of the NLCS last season in what wound up being an elimination loss for the Dodgers.
That Game 6 loss, along with allowing five runs as a relief pitcher to the Phillies in 2008, were the only two instances Kershaw has allowed more than three runs in a postseason appearance. With a successful 2014 postseason, Kershaw could make significant progress in eventually being thought of in the same light as Derek Jeter.