Clayton Kershaw, Clayton Kershaw, Clayton Kershaw.
Don’t get tired hearing about him just yet, his name figures to keep popping up as more postseason awards are announced.
Kershaw officially became a finalist for baseball’s two biggest honors Tuesday – the Cy Young and MVP awards in the National League.
The Baseball Writers Assn. of America, apparently hungry for some additional TV time, has taken to announcing three finalists for each of its eight awards – manager, rookies, Cy Young and MVP in each league -- a week ahead of the winners starting to be announced.
The last pitcher to win the NL MVP award was Bob Gibson in 1968. The next year, baseball lowered the mound to try and discourage it from happening again. Looks like it might happen anyway.
Justin Verlander won both the Cy Young and MVP awards for the Tigers in 2011.
But Kershaw could be on the verge of some NL history. The left-hander put together a stunning season, going 21-3 with a 1.77 earned-run average and 0.86 WHIP -- despite missing five weeks early in the season with a strained shoulder. His wins, ERA and WHIP numbers were all the best in the National League. He also led starters in strikeouts per nine innings (10.8)
Kershaw has won two of the last three NL Cy Young awards and is a heavy favorite to win the 2014 honor. He finished second in 2012.
The other finalists for the NL MVP are Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton and Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen; and for the Cy Young, Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto and St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright.
The most interesting vote will come for the MVP. Stanton is expected to give Kershaw major competition, particularly among those leary of giving a pitcher the award when they already have the Cy Young for pitchers.
Stanton led the league with 37 home runs and had 105 runs batted in, while batting .288. He also led the league in total bases.
The awards are voted on for regular-season results only.
Other NL finalists: rookie, Jacob deGrom (Mets), Billy Hamilton (Reds) and Kolten Wong (Cardinals); manager, Bruce Bochy (Giants), Clint Hurdle (Pirates) and Matt Williams (Nationals).
American League finalists: rookie, outfielder Jose Abreu (White Sox), right-hander Dellin Betances (Yankees), Matt Shoemaker (Angels); manager, Mike Scioscia (Angels), Buck Showalter (Orioles) and Ned Yost (Royals); Cy Young, Felix Hernandez (Mariners), Corey Kluber (Indians) and Chris Sale (White Sox); and MVP, Mike Trout (Angels), Victor Martinez (Tigers) and Michael Brantley (Indians).