Clayton Kershaw ended his best regular season to date on Friday night with another gem. He pitched six scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 1.83, best in the majors for a third straight season.
Kershaw's average season from 2011-2013: 33 starts, 17-8, 232⅓ innings, 236 strikeouts, 2.21 ERA, 167 ERA+.
Here is reaction to his performance:
Tony Jackson at Dodger Scribe wrote, "In an organization that has a long, rich history of great starting pitchers, Kershaw isn’t any of those guys. He is one of those guys. And one day, he may just go down as the best of them."
Ken Gurnick at MLB.com invoked the name of Sandy Koufax: "Koufax had three seasons with an ERA below 2.00, but was 27 years old and in his ninth year in the Majors when he first accomplished the feat in 1963. Kershaw is 25 and in his sixth season in the big leagues."
Jayson Stark at ESPN named Kershaw his choice for the National League Cy Young Award and asked, "Can somebody, anybody, please explain why Clayton Kershaw isn't universally celebrated as the official Best Pitcher in Baseball, in a Verlander-esque kind of way?"
"I'm a little biased," A.J. Ellis told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, "but I think I have the best seat, catching the best pitcher in baseball."
Mike Petriello wrote at Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness that Kershaw "is without question the best pitcher in baseball. He’s on pace to be one of the greatest pitchers in the history of the sport."
Mike Axisa at CBS Sports wrote that Kershaw, with three ERA titles and soon-to-be two Cy Youngs at age 25, "is on an historic career path."
Kenton Wong at ESPN noted that Kershaw posted just the sixth sub-2.00 ERA by a left-handed pitcher since divisional play began in 1969, and the first since John Tudor had a 1.93 ERA in 1985.
Jeff Sullivan on Friday, before Kershaw's final start, wrote at FanGraphs that the Braves and Cardinals are fighting for the right to not face Kershaw twice in a five-game series.