It was more of the same for Clayton Kershaw, who added another chapter to his Hall of Fame story with the Dodgers.
What went right
Kershaw made his seventh straight All-Star team and won his fifth ERA title, topping the National League with a 2.31 mark. He joined rare company, lowering his career ERA — now 2.36 — for a ninth consecutive season.
Kershaw finished second in National League Cy Young Award voting, and is the only pitcher to receive first-place votes in seven consecutive seasons. He joined Greg Maddux as the only pair to finish in the top five in Cy Young balloting in seven straight years.
The Dodgers won 16 straight Kershaw starts from May 6 to Sept. 1, with the left-hander going 12-0 with a 1.70 ERA during that span.
Kershaw led the majors with a 6.73 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
With his season-high 14 strikeouts against the Brewers on June 2 — one shy of his career best — Kershaw passed 2,000 strikeouts in his career, the fifth-youngest in MLB history to reach the milestone.
Kershaw was magnificent in Game 1 of the World Series against the Astros, striking out 11 in his seven innings, allowing only one run. “To me, this was his masterpiece,” teammate Brandon McCarthy said.
What went wrong
Staked to leads of 4-0 and 7-4 in Game 5 of the World Series in Houston, and with the chance to give the Dodgers the series lead heading back to Los Angeles, Kershaw lost his command and was unable to complete five innings in a contest the Dodgers would lose 13-12 in 10 innings.
Kershaw allowed his first career grand slam, on Sept. 18 to Phillies outfielder Aaron Altherr. It was one of 23 home runs allowed by Kershaw in 2017, seven more than he allowed in any previous season.
Missing five weeks with back tightness likely cost Kershaw his fourth career Cy Young Award. Even with the missed time Kershaw tied for the major league lead in wins, and he joined Mike Boddicker (1984) as the only pitchers to lead their league in ERA and wins and not win the Cy Young Award.
Stats: 18-4, 2.31 ERA, 202 K, 30 BB in 175 IP
Salary: $33.5 million, including $33 million in salary and $500,000 for finishing second in NL Cy Young voting
Game of the year
We’ll go with Game 1 of the World Series here, allowing three hits, one run and no walks against Houston in his first Fall Classic start. Kershaw’s 11 strikeouts were the third-most by a Dodgers pitcher in a World Series game.
Kershaw has three years and $98 million remaining on his contract, including $33 million in 2018. He can opt out of his deal following next season and become a free agent.