Believe it or not, Clayton Kershaw had gone two years without winning Pitcher of the Month honors. That drought ended Monday, when the Dodgers hurler was named the National League recipient for July.
Kershaw compiled a 4-1 record and a 1.34 ERA in six July starts, yielding only seven earned runs in a league-high 47 innings. In that stretch, the southpaw issued only two walks and limited opposing batters to 26 hits. Kershaw tallied 43 strikeouts during the month.
The 25-year-old logged his second shutout of the season on July 2, when he blanked the Rockies at Coors Field. Five days later, he held the defending World Series champion Giants to one run on three hits over eight innings.
Kershaw suffered his only loss of the month on July 12, despite keeping Colorado to three runs over seven frames. In his first start following the All-Star Game, in which he pitched a scoreless inning, Kershaw beat the Nationals after limiting Washington to two runs on two hits over seven innings.
In the final week of July, Kershaw held the Reds to one run over eight frames in a 2-1 win and kept the Yankees off the scoreboard for eight innings, though he did not factor into the decision in that affair.
Kershaw leads the Majors with a 1.87 ERA. His 161 strikeouts rank second in the NL. Since the start of the 2011 campaign, in which Kershaw won the NL Cy Young Award, the lefty is 45-20 with a 2.26 ERA.
Kershaw had plenty of competition for the award. Marlins rookie Jose Fernandez posted a 3-1 record and a 2.06 ERA while tallying 40 strikeouts in 35 innings. Left-hander Francisco Liriano went 4-1 with a 2.06 ERA for the NL Central-leading Pirates. Arizona's Wade Miley logged a 4-1 mark with a 1.59 ERA during the month.
Zack Meisel is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @zackmeisel. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.