Clayton Kershaw’s dominance is making him the favorite for a third NL Cy Young Award.
For now, he’ll settle for becoming the first member of the Los Angeles Dodgers to win 11 straight decisions in 29 years.
Kershaw attempts to become the majors’ first 14-game winner Tuesday night at Chavez Ravine against the Los Angeles Angels.
Kershaw (13-2, 1.71 ERA) has won the Cy Young in two of the last three years and is the clear front-runner for a third, which would match Sandy Koufax’s team record.
The left-hander owns the lowest ERA in baseball and is tied with five others for the most wins during a season in which he’s been the most dominant pitcher in the majors.
Kershaw is 10-0 with a 0.94 ERA in 11 starts since the beginning of June, putting him in position to become the first Dodger to win 11 straight decisions since Orel Hershiser did it over 16 starts in 1985. He’s also the first pitcher in the majors to win 10 straight decisions with an ERA under 1.00 since Cal Eldred in 1992.
"I wouldn’t say I’m amazed at this point," first baseman Adrian Gonzalez told MLB’s official website. "It’s him. … What he’s been doing this year is pretty incredible. It’s the kind of stuff that 40-50 years from now people are going to talk about what he’s done.
"And he’s still got a lot left to do."
Kershaw’s dominant stretch includes five complete games, and he’s gone the distance in each of the last two. He scattered nine hits in a 2-1 win over Atlanta on Thursday, five days after a three-hit, 5-0 victory at San Francisco.
No Dodger has tossed three straight complete games since Kevin Brown in 2000.
"Fortunately for us, a lot of times he comes out on top," catcher A.J. Ellis said. "He’s an amazing talent who is just as strong in the ninth as he is in the first. There’s no drop-off ever. We’re spoiled rotten."
Kershaw is 2-2 with a 3.74 ERA in five career starts versus the Angels, but the last time he faced them – a 7-1 road defeat on July 2, 2011, in which he allowed seven runs over six innings – he hadn’t even won his first Cy Young. That means this will be his first encounter with AL MVP favorite Mike Trout, who made his major league debut six days after Kershaw’s most recent Freeway Series start.
Los Angeles (63-50) has hit .207 and totaled 10 runs while losing three of four since Kershaw’s latest outing.
The Dodgers, who lead the NL West by 1 1/2 games over second-place San Francisco, were held to five singles by Garrett Richards while failing 5-0 in the opener of this four-game, two-venue set.
The Angels, who trail AL West-leading Oakland by one game, have won seven of 10 and may be hoping Hector Santiago (3-7, 3.76) can draw some inspiration from Richards’ performance.
The southpaw is getting the nod in place of Tyler Skaggs, who went on the disabled list with a strained left forearm Friday.
Santiago is 1-7 with a 4.16 ERA in 14 starts for the Angels, and he’s been knocked out before completing the sixth inning in 10 of them. He didn’t get through six in either of his last two, but allowed just one run and five hits over 10 1-3 innings.
He earned a 1-0, 13-inning victory at Baltimore on Thursday by throwing two scoreless innings of relief.
Santiago’s only career meeting with the Dodgers included 1 1-3 scoreless inning out of the bullpen in a 5-4 win with the Chicago White Sox on June 16, 2012.