Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers (Courtesy of Rafael Orellana)
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw has been voted the National League Pitcher of the Month for July.
The reigning NL Cy Young and Most Valuable Player Award winner posted a 3-0 record in four July starts, pacing the Senior Circuit with a 0.27 ERA (1 ER, 33.0 IP) and ranking second in the League with 50 strikeouts. Kershaw also ranked among league leaders in wins (T-6th), while holding opponents to the fourth-lowest opponents’ batting average (.162) among qualifying pitchers.
The Texas native, who was named to his fifth career NL All-Star squad last month, has not allowed an earned run since July 3rd, and currently owns a 37.0-inning scoreless streak spanning parts of five outings from July 3rd to August 1st. The streak includes three consecutive starts in which the southpaw fanned 10-or-more without issuing a single walk, becoming the first Major Leaguer to do so in the modern era (since 1900).
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last pitcher before Kershaw to have two such starts in consecutive outings was Cy Young for the Boston Americans (now Red Sox) in 1905. Kershaw tossed a complete game shutout on July 8th for his sixth win of the season, fanning 13 Philadelphia Phillies in a 5-0 win. On July 18th, he held the Washington Nationals scoreless across 8.0 frames and allowed just three hits while recording a season-high 14 strikeouts in a 4-2 victory in the nation’s capital.
Kershaw capped his stellar July with a second shutout performance on July 23rd, fanning 11 Mets in a 3-0 victory at Citi Field. His 192 strikeouts are the most in the Majors this year, and his current 11.68 strikeout to walk ratio is on pace to break Phil Hughes’ all-time single-season record of 11.63. This marks the fifth career monthly honor for Kershaw, who has now been voted Pitcher of the Month for July four times in the last five years (2011, 2013-15). He was also voted Pitcher of the Month for June 2015.
Other pitchers receiving votes included Kershaw’s Dodger teammate Zack Greinke (4-0, 0.95 ERA, 34 SO, 38.0 IP); and Chicago Cubs hurlers Jake Arrieta (4-1, 1.90 ERA, 44 SO, 42.2 IP) and Jon Lester (2-2, 1.66 ERA, 50 SO, 43.1IP).
The National League Pitcher of the Month for July, Clayton Kershaw, will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, to commemorate his performance.