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Can Clayton Kershaw repeat as NL Cy Young Award winner?

August 11, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw keeps his pitching arm warm between innings during a game against the Giants last month in San Francisco.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw keeps his pitching arm warm between innings… (Thearon W. Henderson / Getty…)

[Corrected Aug. 14, 3:48 p.m.]

Absolutely.

That’s not to say he’s currently the leading candidate, but he has put himself back in the hunt. It could yet happen.

A few weeks ago when Kershaw was melting in the St. Louis heat and left with a 7-6 record and a 3.14 ERA, maybe it seemed it was getting out of reach. To that point, Kershaw was having a strong season, but something below the dominating 21-5, 2.28 season he turned in last year.

But last season he won it with an incredible finish (13-1, 1.22 in his last 15 starts). And if he puts together anything resembling that these final two months, he could yet hold on to the award. In his last three starts he is 3-0 with a 1.21 ERA.

Despite their pitching-rich history, no Dodger has won consecutive Cy Young Awards since Sandy Koufax did it in 1965-66 – the final two years when there was just a single Cy Young awarded for both leagues.

Since then Mike Marshall (1974), Fernando Valenzuela (1981), Orel Hershiser (1988) and Eric Gagne (2003) have captured the NL Cy Young without being able to repeat.

This season there are several in contention – R.A. Dickey, Matt Cain. Johnny Cueto, Madison Bumgarner, Stephen Strasburg, Craig Kimbrel and Kershaw. The winner will be determined by who finishes best the final two months.

Kershaw is currently 10-6 with a 2.88 ERA. He is third in the NL in strikeouts (157), is second in walks and hits allowed per nine innings (1.03), second in opponent batting average (.213) and tied for first in shutouts (a modest two).

Given Kershaw’s competitive nature and the fact the Dodgers are in contention for a playoff spot, I suspect his best is yet to come this season. And his best could be enough for a second consecutive NL Cy Young award.

For the record: An earlier version of this blog stated that Koufax won consecutive Cy Young Awards in 1964-65. He won in 1965-66.

ALSO:

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Clayton Kershaw not thrilled with his pitching performance

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