It is premature to start thinking about who will win the 2014 National League Cy Young Award, but one cannot argue that Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is the clear favorite to do so.
The left-hander, who won the award last year, is by far the best pitcher in baseball this season as evidence of his mesmerizing 41 scoreless innings streak that was unfortunately snapped Thursday night against the San Diego Padres. Clearly, Kershaw and his Dodgers teammates were focused on winning the game, which they did so thanks to his marvelous gem. With that being said, there was an atmosphere at Dodger Stadium that suggested winning the game wasn’t nearly as important as watching Kershaw continue his march toward history.
Legendary Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser holds the MLB record for the most consecutive scoreless innings pitched at 59, which he set in 1988. The streak began on August 30, 1988 and ended on April 5, 1989.
To believe that Kershaw would have been able to surpass the record is certainly to think outside of the box. However, the way he has pitched this season, one would assume that he could actually pull off the feat. Even though he was stopped at 41 scoreless innings, he is still playing on another level than his peers. That alone is a huge reason why Los Angeles has crept their way into first place in the NL West.
If anything, Kershaw can be confident that his 11-2 record, MLB-best 1.78 ERA, 126 strikeouts and .191 opponent’s batting average are solid enough numbers to allow him to be named the All-Star Game starter. No decision has been made yet, but there is no one who deserves the honor more than he does.