Clayton Kershaw was voted the National League Pitcher of the Month for July, the Dodgers announced today in a press release. Undefeated since May 28, Kershaw allowed just five earned runs in July, going 4-0 with a league best 1.07 ERA. The 26-year old also recorded an MLB-best three complete games, bringing his total to a big league best five on the season.
The left-hander started the month with 14 scoreless frames to extend his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 41.0. The streak was the longest in the Major Leagues this season, and the fifth longest since 1961. Winner of two of the last three NL Cy Young Awards, Kershaw allowed only five runs in his five July starts spanning 42 innings.
As good as the month was, it was a half-step down from June when he won all six of his starts and allowed only four runs. Despite missing all of April with a back injury, Kershaw leads the league with 13 wins and five complete games. His walk per-nine-inning ratio of 1.1 is the lowest in the league while his strikeout rate per nine innings is the league’s best, as is his 0.824 WHIP.
Signed to a seven-year, $215 million contract in the off-season, Kershaw last year joined Greg Maddux and Lefty Grove as the only pitchers to have the Major’s lowest ERA in three straight seasons. His 1.71 mark this season currently paces baseball; Seattle’s Felix Hernandez next at 2.01.
An All Star each of the last four years, Kerhsaw’s trophy case is overflowing. In addition to his Cy Young Awards, he also received the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award and the 2013 Branch Rickey Award. Perhaps the only honor eluding Kershaw is a World Championship. If the Dodgers are to achieve that, Kerhsaw will have to improve on his post-season performance. In nine career playoff appearances, he is 1-3 with a 4.23 ERA.
This is his fourth career Pitcher of the Month Award, having won previously for July 2011, July 2013 and June 2014. Kershaw becomes the first Dodger hurler to collect back-to-back monthly honors since Hall of Famer Don Sutton (April-May 1975).