Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Kershaw's Wednesday Checklist: clinch the West, clinch an MVP

If Dodger fans could dream up a scenario of how to win the NL West, then Wednesday night is probably it: the magic number over the Giants at one, a home start, a nationally televised audience on ESPN...

And oh ya, Clayton Kershaw is on the mound.

Kershaw can more than emphatically leave an impression on MVP voters when he has a chance to knock any hope out of the Giants of winning the West.  With more eyeballs than usual on this start, he also can firmly cement his status as the true Most Valuable Player of the National League.

Think about it - how many people actually get to see Kershaw pitch?  I live in New York, and while I'm a die-hard Dodger fan, there's still a good amount of people who know about Kershaw, but don't really get to see what he can do because the games are on so late.

Wednesday night's game is late as well with the typical 10 p.m. start time, but with no football being played, more eyes should be on him.  And what a chance he has in front of him.

A couple of things to note about this start.  Kershaw is actually coming off a subpar performance by his own lofty standards.  Last Friday afternoon he lasted a mere five innings in Chicago and gave up three runs.  The last time that happened was way back on June 8 in Colorado.  The reason he didn't last long?  The game was called in the sixth due to rain, so he got a gift complete game to his credit.

That Chicago start did give him his 20th win at least thanks to a red hot offense that day, so he'll look to cap his season at 21-3 tonight.  He's currently leading the NL in wins, ERA, WHIP, and complete games as well.  Had he not missed over a month due to a strained back muscle, then he would be first in the NL in strikeouts, not third.

All of those stats are great, and will undoubtedly lead to his third Cy Young Award in four seasons, but he's got bigger fish to fry this season.  It starts with KO'ing the Giants tonight, which will soon lead to the ultra-rare MVP award for a starting pitcher.

And after that?  Why channeling his inner Orel Hershiser circa 1988 and winning the World Series, of course.

But first things first, let's see him dominate on Wednesday and take it from there, OK?

No comments: