Huge week nets Kershaw NL honor

Huge week nets Kershaw NL honor

Huge week nets Kershaw NL honor
MINNEAPOLIS -- Clayton Kershaw has been showing signs of his ascendance for quite some time, and now the league is beginning to notice. The 23-year-old Dodgers left-hander was recognized as the National League's Player of the Week on Monday in recognition of a short span that saw him throw two complete games.

Kershaw, a first-time winner of the Player of the Week Award, rang up more than twice as many strikeouts (22) as baserunners via hit (eight) and walk (one) in his last two outings. The former first-round Draft pick leads the NL in strikeouts (128) this season, and looked especially strong in wins over the Tigers and Angels.

"He deserves it," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "He's been great, so it's good to see him get some recognition nationally and throughout the league for what he's accomplished in this last week."

The left-hander's two-start burst began last Monday, when he blanked the Tigers on just two hits. Kershaw struck out 11 batters and walked only one, and he came back Sunday to hold the Angels to six hits and two earned runs en route to a 3-2 Dodgers victory.

Kershaw, who also delivered a two-run single in last Monday's victory, will be rewarded with a commemorative watch courtesy of Game Time. The southpaw has now made 100 career starts, and he's racked up a 34-26 record with a 3.12 ERA in his first four seasons.

"It's cool. I'll take it," Kershaw said. "It's nice to get awards obviously, but it's nice to get two wins out of it, too. That's really the most important thing."

Kershaw threw his second shutout and third complete game of the season last week, but still trails Phillies starters Roy Halladay, who leads the NL with five complete games, and Cliff Lee, who has three shutouts.

"I think Halladay, for me personally, he's the guy," Kershaw said. "There's a lot of guys having really good years, but just day in, day out, what he brings to that team -- I think I saw a stat yesterday that they've won the last [eight] games he's started.

"You just know that team, when he goes out there, they're feeling pretty good about their chances. That's definitely where I'd like to get to."

Kershaw's teammate, first baseman James Loney, received consideration for NL Player of the Week honors after batting .478 with 11 hits last week. Several other position players -- a mix that included Milwaukee's Yuniesky Betancourt and Prince Fielder, in addition to Cincinnati's Chris Heisey and Brandon Phillips -- merited consideration.

Shortstops Starlin Castro (Cubs) and Jose Reyes (Mets) were also on the short list, as was Colorado third baseman Ty Wigginton. Starting pitchers Tim Hudson (Braves) and Lee were also considered, as was Pittsburgh closer Joel Hanrahan, who racked up four saves last week.

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. Associated reporter Jordan Schelling contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.