Los Angeles Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been voted the National League Pitcher of the Month for July.
In five outings last month, Kershaw was 4-0 with a N.L.-best 1.07 ERA, allowing just five earned runs in a League-high 42.0 innings of work. The southpaw tossed a Major League-high three complete games last month and tied for first in the N.L. in wins, while posting the second-lowest opponents' batting average (.165) among qualifying N.L. pitchers. Kershaw fanned 43 during the month, which was good for fourth in the Senior Circuit, while walking only four.
Kershaw started the month with back-to-back wins on July 4th at Colorado and July 10th vs. San Diego, extending his record-setting scoreless innings streak to 41.0 before seeing it snapped in the sixth inning of the latter outing. The 41.0-inning streak dated back to his June 13th start vs. Arizona and spanned parts of six games. It is the longest such streak in the Majors this season and, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, ranked among the longest scoreless innings streaks in the expansion era (since 1961). Only Brandon Webb (42.0, July-August 2007), Bob Gibson (47.0, June 1968), Don Drysdale (58.0, May-June 1968) and Orel Hershiser (59.0, August-September 1988) have posted longer such streaks. Despite seeing his streak snapped, Kershaw extended his winning streak to eight in the San Diego start, fanning 11 and allowing just three hits in the complete game effort. The Texas native did not take a decision in his July 20th start at St. Louis, when he allowed just three runs in 7.0 innings of work as the Cardinals edged the Dodgers, 4-3, at Busch Stadium. Kershaw dazzled in his July 26th outing, rendering a 5-0 shutout victory over the division-rival San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. The two-time Cy Young Award winner allowed just three hits and a walk while fanning seven in his second complete game performance of the month. He capped his stellar month of July with his second consecutive complete-game victory on July 31st, allowing a single run in 9.0 innings of work while collecting nine strikeouts en route to a 2-1 victory over the visiting Atlanta Braves. With the win, the Dodger ace tied his career-best streak of wins in 10 straight decisions while improving his record to 13-2 on the season. This is his fourth career Pitcher of the Month Award, having won previously for July 2011, July 2013 and June 2014. Kershaw becomes the first Dodger hurler to collect back-to-back monthly honors since Hall of Famer Don Sutton (April-May 1975).
Other pitchers receiving votes included San Diego's Tyson Ross (4-2, 1.10 ERA, SHO, 48 SO, 41.0 IP); New York Mets rookie Jacob deGrom (4-1, 1.39 ERA, 38 SO, 32.1 IP); and Philadelphia's Cole Hamels (4-1, 1.94 ERA, 42 SO, 41.2 IP).
The National League Pitcher of the Month for July, Clayton Kershaw, will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, to commemorate his performance.