Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Clayton Kershaw: The Most Dominant Pitcher In 20 Years

“Hello, my name is Clayton Kershaw, and I am not from your planet.”

This should be how Clayton Kershaw begins a conversation with us humans.  He simply isn’t of this earth.  When he wins, we are in awe of his dominance. When he loses, we are awed that he can actually lose a game.

Clayton Kershaw has not lost consecutive games for the Los Angeles Dodgers in over 50 starts.  While many may scoff at the idea that Kershaw has is in the MVP race, I would have to ask that you pick up a baseball and do what this specimen does every five days. Go on, try it out and tell us all how it works out for you!

Clayton Kershaw has 16 straight starts where he has recorded six or more strikeouts. That is a feat that has not been done since 1914 by a National League pitcher. Kershaw has proved his iron-man ability with his 7.3 IP/start rate this season, the highest of any Dodgers pitcher since the great Orel Hersheiser (which is one of many reasons why this writer likes to compare Kersh to the bulldog) in 1989 (7.51 IP/GS).  Clayton Kershaw is the fourth active pitcher to record 75 wins by 26 years old.

Kershaw, who is 15-3 with an 1.82 ERA, seems to achieve a new accomplishment each and every time he takes the mound. The MVP is the most valuable player award.  And, in case any of us have missed a ton of Dodgers baseball, Clayton Kershaw has been without a doubt the most valuable player on the Dodgers ball club.  He’s simply phenomenal on the mound.  If ten batters aren’t struck out by his mighty sword arm then it seems odd. Even for baseball purists, who are angered by every mention of Clayton Kershaw being the NL MVP, MUST admit one thing: You are watching one of the best pitchers you’ve seen in the last 20 years. 

“That’s just par for the course for him. I think we all know what we’re going to get from him every time he goes out there. He’s a competitor. I can’t say enough about him and the job he’s done for us all year. Why not? (Be considered MVP) Whenever he has the ball, he’s the best player on the field. He’s got my vote.”-Justin Turner

Clearly en route to his third Cy Young in four years, Kershaw’s 15 wins have carried an oft-injured Dodgers lineup heavily.  4 1/2 games ahead in the NL West, Clayton Kershaw continues to keep the Dodgers alive and well with each start.  Face it, the Dodgers are a completely different animal so very often when Kershaw takes the mound. The Dodgers rally around their ace like no other team does. Recently it has gotten to a point where you have seriously believed that Kershaw has another 2-3 no-hitters in him THIS season.  The defense looks better, the offense seems more clutch, and the Dodgers all around appear to be a World Series caliber team when Kershaw is pitching.

At only 26 years old, watching Clayton Kershaw pitch is like a work of art.  He’s Greg Maddux with a killer slider and nasty fast ball.  He’s Orel Hersheiser and Sandy Koufax with a side of Maddux wrapped into a lean strikeout machine.  Even manager Don Mattingly has reigned in his old school belief where a pitcher should not win MVP.  “The first year he won the Cy Young, we weren’t very good, but the dude stopped every losing streak,” Mattingly told ESPN. “You can’t get guys like that. They’re just so important.”

Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers was the last pitcher to take the MVP award. With six fewer starts than other pitchers due to a back injury, Clayton Kershaw has managed to still rise above as the most dominant pitcher in baseball.  The time may have come for the NL to crown their first pitching MVP since Bob Gibson in 1968.  Not because it’s just time for a change, but because Clayton Kershaw is the best we’ve seen in over a decade…..and he’s just reaching his prime.

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Tags: Clayton Kershaw Los Angeles Dodgers MLB MVP

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