The best pitcher in baseball, Clayton Kershaw, picked up his second career Cy Young Award on Wednesday. After coming in second in Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year awards for the National League, the Dodgers had no second thoughts about Kershaw’s virtual inarguable lock on the 2013 NL Cy Young Award. The last three years Clayton Kershaw has dominated on the mound. This really should be a trifecta of back-to-back-to-back Cy Youngs if it weren’t for the feel good story of knuckleballer R.A. Dickey last season. Make no mistake, Kershaw is simply the best. Even the Rookie of the Year winner Jose Fernandez doesn’t have anything on Kershaw.
Kershaw dominated in the NL Cy Young Award voting just like his utter dominance on the mound. He collected 29 first-place votes and 207 points from BBWAA member ballots. Adam Wainwright somehow got one first place vote which was cast by a Cincinnati writer who shall go unnamed.
Last season Kershaw garnered two first-place votes and 96 points making him the runner-up. In 2011, when Kershaw won the Pitching Triple Crown, he won his first Cy Young award with 27 first-place votes. Roy Halladay, the Philadelphia right-hander, came in a distant second. Kershaw’s Cy Young was the 10th time a Dodger has won the award. Sandy Koufax won the Cy Young award three times, and other winners include Don Newcombe, Mike Marshall, Fernando Valenzuela, Orel Hershiser, and Eric Gagne.
Clayton Kershaw is only getting better. Sandy won three Cy Young awards, and I could easily see the 25-year old matching or exceeding that number. Kershaw has led all of baseball in ERA over the past three seasons. His 2013 ERA of 1.83 was incredible, and it was the lowest recorded by a NL lefty since Koufax’s 1.73 in 1966. The last player to dominate in ERA for three consecutive seasons was Greg Maddux back from 1993-1995.
Even though Kershaw only had 16 wins due to low run support (a common uphill battle Kershaw has had to pitch through during these amazing seasons), the southpaw led the MLB with a 0.92 WHIP, he led the National League in 232 strikeouts. Kershaw also was a work horse in 2013, and he was second in the league in 236 innings pitched.
Jose Fernandez, the Rookie of the Year, finished his first season with a 12-6 record and a 2.19 ERA in 28 games started. The right-hander struck out 187 with only 58 walks over 172 2/3 innings pitched. No doubt Fernandez is a great talent, and his rookie season was exceptional. He still is no Kershaw.
Kershaw’s star shines not only on the mound but off the baseball field as well. Clayton and Ellen Kershaw’s philanthropy and community service both in the Los Angeles area and in Africa, really make Kershaw one of the best players for a child to look up to as a role model. Kershaw’s humbleness and work ethic don’t go unnoticed by Dodger fans, and we appreciate his dedication to the team and fans. Kershaw should always be a Dodger like Sandy. The Dodgers and Kershaw have yet to reach any agreement on a contract extension, but to me Kershaw is priceless.
I didn’t get to see Clayton Kershaw pitch in the World Series this past season, but I have confidence that Dodger fans will get to see Kershaw pitch in the Fall Classic soon. The Dodgers know that a World Series cannot be had without Clayton Kershaw, who was arguably the M.V.P. of the Dodgers this season as well as their best pitcher. Clayton Kershaw is the greatest pitcher of my generation. My uncle told Scott and I the stories of Sandy Koufax’s talent, and now we will have memories of Clayton Kershaw’s brilliance to share with our children and grandchildren.
Congratulations, Clayton Kershaw!
Clayton Kershaw out of the stretch on Opening Day. Photo: Stacie Wheeler