LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw has to be considered the front-runner for the National League Cy Young Award. When you sort through the numbers, it’s not really that close.
Kershaw leads the National League in ERA (1.88), innings pitched and WAR. He is second only to Matt Harvey in WHIP (0.86 to 0.87) and strikeouts (178 to 174). Harvey pitches here Tuesday night for the New York Mets.
The only category he’s not dominating is wins. Kershaw has 11, ranking seventh in the NL. Of course, that is primarily a statement of paltry run support. In Kershaw’s career, he is 49-0 when the Dodgers score him four runs or more.
Kershaw said the number he pays closest attention to is innings pitched, because it's an indication of how long a pitcher is keeping his team in a game.
"Win-loss record is so tough. I remember in 2011, I won 21 games and I felt like every time I went out there I had two or three runs early and it was just my year," Kershaw said in an interview with Max and Marcellus on 710 ESPNLA Monday. "Other times, you’ve got to battle for wins and that’s just the way baseball goes. It’s a team sport."
Do wins matter? Should they even be factored into discussions of the best pitcher in baseball?
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly thinks they have a role in the discussion, because pitchers who work deep into games tend to accumulate more decisions, wins and losses. Of course, that logic doesn't argue against Kershaw's cause.
* Mattingly said that shortstop Hanley Ramirez (jammed right shoulder) could return to the lineup as soon as Wednesday. Matt Kemp tested his sprained left ankle by running short sprints on the field. Kemp remains 10 days to two weeks away from returning.
"He needs to be a little more explosive and he's got to get to the point he's stopping and turning," Mattingly said. "It's going to be a little bit of time."
Here are lineups for Monday night’s game:
1. Eric Young LF
2. Juan Lagares CF
3. Daniel Murphy 2B
4. Marlon Byrd RF
5. Ike Davis 1B
6. Wilmer Flores 3B
7. John Buck C
8. Omar Quintanilla SS
9. Jenrry Mejia RHP
1. Carl Crawford LF
2. Mark Ellis 2B
3. Adrian Gonzalez 1B
4. Yasiel Puig RF
5. Andre Ethier CF
6. A.J. Ellis C
7. Juan Uribe 3B
8. Nick Punto SS
9. Ricky Nolasco RHP