Clayton Kershaw may have fizzled out of the postseason along with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but his accomplishments in 2014 are nonetheless impressive.
Along with what he’s been awarded and the presumed Cy Young, Kershaw is also a finalist for NL MVP. The idea of a pitcher winning an MVP award isn’t one that’s taken baseball by storm and former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda is in that boat.
During a Monday appearance on MLB Network Radio, Lasorda explained why he believes pitchers, including Kershaw, shouldn’t win MVP:
Lasorda: "I don't think pitchers should win MVP. They should win the Cy Young, but not the MVP b/c he only goes out there every 4-5 games"
— MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) November 10, 2014
Lasorda isn’t the only person with ties to the Dodgers organization who expressed that line of thinking. Manager Don Mattingly said he too believed pitchers weren’t deserving of an MVP Award, but admitted to a change of heart with getting to watch Kershaw day in and day out.
In order for Kershaw to become the first Dodger to win MVP since Kirk Gibson did so in 1988, he’ll need to out-place Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Sandy Koufax was the last Dodger pitcher to win MVP (1963) in a season he also won the Cy Young Award.
The last pitcher to win the MVP Award was Justin Verlander in 2011. However, it hasn’t been accomplished in the NL since Bob Gibson won the award in 1968. With the award based on regular-season performance, 2014 is as much of year as any for Kershaw to make history.
While Kershaw benefitted from Stanton being struck on the face by a fastball in mid-September that ended his season, the Dodger ace was already well on his way to capping off an impressive season.
Kershaw finished with an MLB-best 21 wins, six complete games, 1.77 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings and 13.7 pitches per inning. The ERA title was Kershaw’s fourth consecutive, which is a first in MLB history.