It was another day at the office for Clayton Kershaw on Sunday, as he hurled eight dominant innings, giving up two runs and striking out nine in a 4-2 win over the Giants. Any win over the Giants is big, as this gave the Dodgers a three game lead in the NL West, and combined with Saturday's football score win, helped erase that ugly Friday night loss for a weekend sweep.
At this point, it would be a surprise if Kershaw didn't win the NL MVP, as he continues to further and further distance himself from the competition. I don't give a crap if he's a pitcher - there is simply no one better at what he does, and no one can take over a game quite like him.
Just how good is he? Check out this article from "Cut 4" on MLB.com. In it, 13 facts on Kershaw's season are listed. Here's a few samples:
* Since 1920, only nine other starters have posted an ERA under 1.70. The last was Greg Maddux in 1995.
* Since the start of the 2013 season, his ERA is 1.77 over 421 innings. The next lowest is Jose Fernandez at 2.25 and 224 1/3 innings.
* His career H/9 is 6.7. The next lowest EVER? Nolan Ryan at 6.5.
* He's on track to lead the NL in ERA for the third straight season. Only Sandy Koufax from 1962-1967 has done better.
* His fastball and slider are ranked as the best in the league, according to Fangraphs.com. His curveball is ninth.
Wow, wow, wow. Those numbers never get old to read.
Most importantly, his team is in first place in the NL West, and are a mere 1/2 game in back of the Nationals for the #1 seed. With 13 games left, there's still plenty of time to grab that top spot.
As of now, Kershaw is scheduled to pitch two more times in the regular season: Friday, September 19 in Chicago against the Cubs; and Wednesday, September 24 at home against the Giants. Considering the Cubs are terrible and the Giants have looked helpless against him, you have to feel good about his numbers getting even better.
Of course, winning the Cy Young and MVP would mean so much more if he can carry that success into the postseason. That's the one piece of the puzzle left for him to conquer. While he was pretty good last October with a 3.13 ERA, he took a couple of loses, including the ugly Game 6 shellacking in St. Louis. Over his career, he's 1-3 with a 4.23 ERA and 1.28 WHIP, some very un-Kershaw-like numbers.
Let's all kick back and enjoy his last two starts, then see what fall baseball brings. It could be the next step in what is shaping up to be quite the Hall of Fame career.