Dodgers Top Individual Seasons by a Starting Pitcher: #4 Clayton Kershaw – 2014
While Clayton Kershaw’s 2015 ranks higher in terms of fWAR (8.6 vs 7.9) that is more of a reflection of the quality of pitching from the rest of the league that season than of sheer dominance. That much may be evident by Kershaw’s 3rd place finish in the Cy Young voting that season.
However, we’re not here to split hairs about the 2015 season. We’re here to discuss why the 2014 campaign was truly special.
With two Cy Young awards already to his name and a second-place finish in 2012, Kershaw was already an established arm in the league despite being just 26-years-old. Now entering his prime, the lefty authored a season for the ages.
In 27 starts on the season, Kershaw went 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA, a 1.81 FIP, and a 10.85 K/9. Despite missing all of April with a back injury, Kershaw still led the league in complete games (6), wins (21), and K/9 (10.85). He would surrender more than three earned runs in a game just once on the season (May 7, 2014, vs Arizona).
Of note, Kershaw’s stellar campaign featured a 41-inning scoreless streak and his first-career no-hitter, a game that was nearly perfect save for an error by Hanley Ramirez. His 102 game score for that game was the highest since Kerry Wood‘s 20-strikeout game in 1998.
Kershaw’s efforts resulted in not only his second consecutive Cy Young award, a unanimous win, but also the National League MVP award. It was the 11th time in MLB history that a pitcher had been awarded both the Cy Young and MVP in the same season, joining Sandy Koufax and Don Newcombe as the only Dodgers to accomplish the feat.