Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates the third out of the eighth inning with A.J. Ellis #17 against the Cincinnati Reds at Dodger Stadium.
With Clayton Kershaw on the mound Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Dodgers have their most dominant starter, and definitive ace starting for them. Don't let that 10-7 record fool you, Kershaw is the best pitcher in the National League, now if he could just get some run support.
Maybe it's because opposing pitchers bring their best performance, trying to go pitch for pitch with Kershaw. Or maybe Dodger batters feel less urgency to perform with him on the mound. Honestly, I do not believe either of those ideas, but there has got to be something to explain why Kershaw has the sixth lowest runs of support in the National League and seven losses with a 1.91 ERA.
Kershaw has been getting an average of 3.13 runs of support per start, and that number got a good bump in July when the Dodgers won games by a score of 8-0 and 9-2. Other Dodger pitchers have much higher support, Grienke receives 4.48 run per start, and Hyun-Jin Ryu gets 5.6.
On their most recent roadtrip the Dodgers won seven of eight games, with the only loss coming in Kershaw's six inning, two run outing in St Louis. Excluding Kershaw's start the Dodgers averaged 5.2 runs per game on the roadtrip, with two games of six runs and one game of 13.
In 2013, Kershaw has eight starts where he received a loss or no-decision after allowing two runs or less, and he has not won a single game where he gives up three or more runs.
Not to take away from what other Dodger pitchers are doing, the rotation has been pretty incredible lately, but the team is wasting Kershaw's fantastic starts. He gives the Dodgers the best chance to win every time he is on the mound, but they are still only 13-11.
Clayton Kershaw should be the National League Cy Young winner, but if his ERA rises above 2.00, he may need some of those shiny wins in his record to get votes. Not to start a discussion about the value of a pitcher's win-loss record, but if Kershaw was averaging four or five runs of support per start he could be an undefeated, or one-loss pitcher this year.
This is the home stretch, and Kershaw has shown in previous years that he thrives in the final months of the season, so let's see what he can do to wrap up the end of 2013, starting Sunday night against the Rays, and how about some run support, Dodgers?