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2014 Dodgers review: Clayton Kershaw

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Christian Petersen

Clayton Kershaw had one of the best seasons in franchise history in 2014, even though it ended on a sour note. Here is a look back at the award-winning season of the Dodgers' ace.

What went right

I called Kershaw's 2013 campaign his "masterpiece" season, the left-hander managed to get even better in 2014.

What Kershaw was in 2014 was a hyper-efficient version of himself, obliterating career bests in strikeout rate (31.9 percent) and walk rate (4.1 percent), resulting in new milestones in ERA (1.77), WHIP (0.857), complete games (six), innings per start (7.35), ERA+ (197), FIP (1.81) and xFIP (2.08).

In June and July, Kershaw had more wins (10) than runs allowed (nine) and walks (eight), while striking out 104 in 86 innings. During that time Kershaw had a 41-inning scoreless streak, tied for the fifth-longest in baseball in the last 54 years.

In the end, Kershaw was rewarded not only with his third career National League Cy Young Award, but also became the first NL pitcher to win MVP since 1968.

What went wrong

Kershaw did miss five weeks early in the season with a strained teres major muscle in his upper back, though Kershaw made up for it by cramming in an entire season's worth of dominance into just 27 starts.

But what really went wrong for Kershaw was a pair of seventh innings against the Cardinals in the NLDS. In the first six innings of his two playoff starts in 2014, Kershaw combined to allowed two runs on three hits in 12 innings, with 17 strikeouts and two walks.

The Dodgers led 6-2 heading into the seventh in Game 1, and 2-0 heading into the seventh in Game 4, the latter with Kershaw on just three days rest. But the Cardinals rallied twice against Kershaw, with Matt Carpenter and Matt Adams each with a three-run hit to give St. Louis a lead.

Kershaw's two seventh innings in the NLDS saw him allow nine runs on nine hits while recording all of two outs.

2014 particulars

Age: 26

Salary: $23 million, including a $4 million base salary in the first year of his seven-year, $215 million contract, an $18 million signing bonus, plus a $1 million bonus for winning the Cy Young Award.

Game of the year

Kershaw was at his absolute best on June 18 against the Rockies, striking out 15 and walking none in pitching a no-hitter. Kershaw needed only 107 pitches to dominate Colorado, with only a throwing error preventing a perfect game.

Roster status

Kershaw has six years and $193 million remaining on his contract, including $30 million in 2015.