I honestly don’t think the National League needs to wait to hand out their award for NL Pitcher of the Month for June. If it doesn’t go to Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the award needs to be scrapped…forever.
You look at his numbers for the month and your jaw hits the floor. In his six starts…
6-0, 0.82 ERA, 0.682 WHIP, 61 BB, 4 BB, .165 BAA
Yes, he twirled the no-no against the Kansas City Royals. But let’s break the month up a little more. Kershaw had six starts. We’ll split those right down the middle.
1st three: 20 IP, 3-0, 1.80 ERA, .200 BAA, 25 SO, 1 BB, 0.800 WHIP
2nd three: 24 IP, 3-0, 0.00 ERA, .133 BAA, 36 SO, 3 BB, 0.583 WHIP
Note the lower innings pitched for the first three games despite having the same number of starts. Had nothing to do with performance or pitch count or anything that could be construed as negative. That June 8 start against the Colorado Rockies was shortened due to rain.
I suppose you could say that this was a positive turn of events. If you think that’s all it was, it would be a vast understatement as Kershaw had a very un-Kershaw-like May. In his five May starts…
5 GS, 28.2 IP, 2-2, 4.08 ERA, .277 BAA, 39 SO, 6 BB, 1.291 WHIP
In one of his May starts, the Arizona Diamondbacks lit him up for seven runs in only 1.2 innings. Of course, Kershaw doesn’t exactly hold a stellar record there (9 GS, 3-6, 4.10 ERA, 1.234 WHIP in 52.2 IP). That’s by far his worst outing of 2014.
And remember, Kershaw started May as he was coming off a stint on the disabled list. Guess you could say it took him a while to “find himself”. His first game back was good (7 IP, 0 R, 9 H), a decent game against the Giants (7 IP, 3 R, 7 H), then the Arizona debacle. He split the last two games of May, but pitched well enough for a win in both.
I’ll refer back to the game in Phoenix. Since that game…
8 GS, 7-1, 1.11 ERA, .170 BAA, 79 SO, 8 BB, 0.754 WHIP
Can’t hit him, and he won’t walk anyone. How are you supposed to beat him then?
That game he did take a loss was a 3-2 decision against the Cincinnati Reds. And he was solid in that outing. He deserved a better fate.
With LA now a mere percentage point behind the Giants for the top spot in the NL West, it’s simple to say that Kershaw must continue to perform. Will he do so at the level we saw for June? The chances aren’t in his favor, but if there is a pitcher that could, it’s Clayton Kershaw.