Don’t sleep on Clayton Kershaw for the NL Cy Young Award

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Some assumed that R.A. Dickey wrapped up the National League Cy Young Award when he got his 20th win Thursday against the Pirates, but Clayton Kershaw is making things interesting.

Kershaw absolutely dominated the Rockies last night by striking out 10 over eight shutout innings as part of an 8-0 victory. The defending Cy Young Award winner was skipped in the rotation earlier this month due to a nagging hip injury, but he has allowed one run in 13 innings over two starts since returning.

Kershaw is just 13-9 on the year, so he isn’t getting as much attention as Dickey and Gio Gonzalez, but he currently ranks first in the National League with a 2.58 ERA. Dickey is at 2.69. Kershaw also has 221 strikeouts on the year, just one behind Dickey for the National League lead. Meanwhile, Gonzalez and Dickey are second and 14th respectively among qualified NL starters in run support while Kershaw ranks 35th.

Dickey has some really strong numbers to go along with an outstanding story and Gonzalez has the edge in wins to go along with a 2.89 ERA and 207 strikeouts, so they still probably deserve to be the favorites, but Kershaw isn’t giving up the Cy Young Award — or the Dodgers’ flickering playoff hopes — without a fight.

Clayton Kershaw struggles with control, walks six Marlins

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.

Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.

The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.