Clayton Kershaw’s journey for a fourth Cy Young
Clayton Kershaw is already the most decorated active pitcher, and he will be looking to add more silverware this season. He could easily have five CY Youngs right now if not for a bad back in 2016 and being robbed because the voters prioritized a feel-good story in 2012.
He entered 2017 as most people’s National League favorite, but after starting the season off slow (by his standards) he faces an uphill battle because Max Scherzer has been lights out in 2017.
It just goes to show you how special Kershaw is when a 2.18 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and 159 strikeouts in a league-leading 132.1 innings is considered a “down season.” Almost any other season these numbers would make Kershaw the favorite to win the Cy Young. But this isn’t any of those.
Scherzer has pitched 128.2 innings, has a 2.10 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, and 173 strikeouts. He also has a better FIP, ERA+, and home run rate than the Dodger ace. So it is fair to say that Scherzer has had the better season up until now.
However, one thing to consider is that Scherzer is pitching out of his mind and Clayton Kershaw has just started to find his groove over his past four starts. The Dodgers’ ace has a 0.62 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, and 44 punchouts in these 29 innings, which also includes his first complete game of the season. And for the season, Scherzer’s walk total of 56 pales in comparison to Kershaw’s 22. Kershaw is also allowing a lower opponents’ batting average against.
Also keep in mind that from over the past three seasons (best seasons to use for comparison because of Scherzer’s late rise) Kershaw has a 1.50 ERA after the All-Star Break while Mad Max has a 3.15 ERA, which is still good but not the same.