Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
It seems like just yesterday, people were posing the question “what’s wrong with Clayton Kershaw”
Dodger fans are so spoiled in regards to the nearly unanimous choice for best pitcher on the planet. After winning consecutive Cy Young awards and becoming the first NL pitcher since 1968 to win the MVP award, Kershaw disappointed many by getting off to a slow start early on. He held a 4.32 ERA on May 21, and his “rough” outings led to comical articles such as this.
After seeing former aces Justin Verlander and Tim Lincecum fall off their game so drastically, some began to worry about Kershaw after that start. In six starts in June, Kershaw allowed 10 runs in 41 2/3 innings, which lowered his ERA from 3.86 to 3.20. He then had an incredible July, which dropped that ERA to a more Kershaw-y 2.51. After another dominant start over the weekend against the Angels, he now holds a 2.37 ERA. Dodgers probably should have DFA’d in May.
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Kershaw had four starts in July, totaling 33 innings. He gave up one run, which came in his first start of the month. A month later and Kershaw hasn’t allowed a run since. Two of his four starts in July were complete game shutouts, one at home against the Phillies and one on the road against the Mets. He went seven innings in that first start against the Mets, and went eight in his first start after the All-Star Game at Washington. In July, Kershaw struck out 45 batters and walked just two. He went 3-0 in the four starts and posted an insane 0.27 ERA.
He only failed to reach double-digit strikeouts once in July, in that first start against the Mets. He struck out 13 Phillies and 14 Nationals in consecutive starts. After a rough start to the season, Kershaw now leads baseball in strikeouts and FIP.
His main competition for pitcher of the month was his own rotation-mate, Zack Greinke. Greinke has been phenomenal all season, and has a month that would usually be enough for pitcher of the month honors. He went 4-0 in July with a .95 ERA in 38 innings. Greinke still might have the upper hand in the Cy Young race, but Kershaw is heating up fast and currently has a 37-inning scoreless streak. In July, Greinke lost his own scoreless streak at 43 2/3 innings.
This marks the fifth time Kershaw has received a pitcher of the month award. Kershaw’s next scheduled start is on Friday, when the Dodgers open a three-game series at Pittsburgh. The game will be shown on ESPN but will be blacked out in LA. Fellow Cy Young candidate Gerrit Cole will be on the bump for the Pirates.