Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw deserves MVP honors

first_imgClayton Kershaw is having an MVP season.But is it good enough to win MVP?Kershaw, who lost for the first time Saturday since May 28, is 14-3 with a 1.86 ERA. He’s been so dominant with 174 strikeouts and 19 walks in 20 starts (averaging 8.7 per game). He threw 41 consecutive scoreless innings earlier this season. The Dodgers ace has done everything possible — thus far — to win the award. The only drawback to his campaign is that he doesn’t play every day. There are many who don’t believe a pitcher should win the MVP award because of it.That’s why the last pitcher to win National League MVP was Bob Gibson in 1968. In the American League, Justin Verlander was the last pitcher named MVP in 2011. But before him, Dennis Eckersley last won in it 1992. Mattingly pointed to Kershaw’s leadership on and off the field as evidence for the MVP campaign. He mentioned Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright as another example like Kershaw of an athlete who pitches every fifth day but has a daily impact on his team. If you debated Mattingly about this when he was playing for the Yankees, he would’ve argued for a position player. Now, it’s different. “Oh, no question, just from the standpoint of what this guy, not just (him) but what a guy like that (does),” Mattingly said. “I mean, I look at (Roger) Clemens in the year 1986 when he won it. He was (24-4). He was just dominant and it seemed like every time he pitched he won, stopped streaks, stopped losing streaks, kind of continued winning streaks, started new ones. Those guys seem to be the guys that are going seven, eight innings almost every time out. But it saved the bullpen and they allow you to use your bullpen the day before and rest you the day of, so just the value there is just a broad value that you don’t really always see just on that day.”Before Saturday’s loss, Kershaw was unbeaten in his previous 13 starts and was 11-0 with a 1.16 ERA from June 2-Aug 15. It’s the longest win streak by a Dodger since Orel Hershiser had an 11-game win streak in 1985. Kershaw’s intensity on game day and work ethic on those four days in between starts makes him so admirable to his teammates. He has days where he doesn’t pitch, but those aren’t off days. That diving catch of a squeeze-play attempt in Kershaw’s last start in Milwaukee, which started an inning-ending double play, is another notch on his resume campaign for MVP. That must have had general manager Ned Colletti a little nervous, especially with Hyun-Jin Ryu on the disabled list. But it was an amazing play nonetheless.Save for two mistakes, Kershaw felt better than he did in his last start, a win at Milwaukee.“My stuff was definitely better and my command was better,” Kershaw said. “Sometimes, the scoreboard doesn’t show how you feel. I got lucky in Milwaukee and paid for it here.”Hopefully, he doesn’t have to pay the price in MVP voting since he doesn’t play every day.On Saturday, Kershaw, Ellis and Adrian Gonzalez all gave chase on a foul ball on the track down the first-base line, and Kershaw didn’t back off until late. Ellis made the catch. That unstoppable effort, even when a position player is the one who should make that play, surely made for some good-natured laughs from his teammates in the dugout. Kershaw is so intense during games that no one talks to him much, just pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and Ellis. But afterward that should’ve generated some friendly banter. They could banter over Kershaw’s latest walk-up music, Cat Daddy by the Rej3ctz. The only line in the song that seems to fall in line with Kershaw’s routine is `”Man, I go to work, true winner.”Kershaw is certainly a winner. Whether he’ll be an MVP is somehow up for debate because he doesn’t pitch every day. But if you saw him between starts, he works hard every day and leads the Dodgers. That’s just not something you can measure in statistics. That should count toward an MVP vote for Kershaw this [email protected] @jillpainter on Twitter Kershaw should win MVP honors this season for the Dodgers, who are in first place in the National League West. He would be the first pitcher in 46 years to be named MVP of the National League, but just because it hasn’t happened in nearly five decades doesn’t mean it shouldn’t come to fruition. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly feels a pitcher should be considered to win MVP. He’s advocating for Kershaw to win it, and that’s a stance that’s changed for him over time. “I flip-flopped when I played,” said Mattingly. “As a manager, you just see the value in a guy like what Clayton has been able to give you. I do think it needs to be one of those years where it seems like it’s extraordinary. … This has been one of those years. I see the value in that guy as opposed to when I was playing, not that you didn’t see value in pitching, but it seemed like it was a different thing.”Saturday was another prime example of his value. Even an MVP has an off-pitch or two, and that happened as he gave up home runs to Ryan Braun and Carlos Gomez in a 3-2 loss to the Brewers. But, Kershaw struck out 11 in a complete-game effort in which he allowed just five hits and three runs. It was also a victory for an overworked bullpen. Catcher AJ Ellis knows the pitcher-for-MVP debate is brewing.“Knowing how much the bullpen has been used, for Clayton to know that he needed to give us eight-nine innings and to deliver that, that’s valuable to me,” Ellis said. center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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