When the Los Angeles Dodgers picked up a 4-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Friday night, one thing became clear about Clayton Kershaw‘s 2013 season: win-loss totals have had no real indication as to how good Kershaw has been during the 2013 season, and these totals are becoming an increasingly obsolete statistic when it comes to judging who is the best pitcher in baseball and who should win the Cy Young Award.
After all, Kershaw has gained sole possession or is tied for first in MLB in innings pitched, games started, WHIP, ERA+, shutouts and ERA, but yet has a record of only 14-9. This leaves 17 other pitchers in MLB who either have the same amount of wins as Kershaw or more, despite none of these pitchers being within .50 in ERA.
A great indicator of how dominant Kershaw has been is how he has done during the nine games that he has lost. During these nine losses, he has not managed to allow more than four earned runs in a single game and has gone six or more innings seven times. His losses are highlighted by the 1.56 average runs scored by the Dodgers during those game, and 3.55 runs per game over his 31 starts.
This is low not only for MLB, but for the Dodgers as they average 4.20 runs per game when Kershaw is not pitching.
When this run support is compared to the two pitchers with the most wins in MLB, Max Scherzer and Jordan Zimmermann, there is no comparison at all. During his 19-win 2013 season, Scherzer has been supported by an eye popping 5.48 runs per game, and Zimmerman has been helped by 4.34 runs per game on his way to 17 wins in 2013.
Meanwhile, neither Scherzer or Zimmermann have managed to jump into the top-10 in MLB in innings pitched, ERA, or games started, displaying that while they have very good seasons, their win totals have overshadowed the fact that neither is on the same level as Kershaw.
In fact, there is not a single pitcher on the level as Kershaw during the 2013 season, despite what the silly statistic of wins and losses would lead one to believe. Hopefully, the voters for the NL Cy Young Award realize just how silly this statistic is when they go to vote for the NL Cy Young Award in October, or else we could be watching one of the best pitching seasons in the last 20 years go unrecognized.