Most valuable player? Got one.
Lead the major leagues in strikeouts? That would be new.
So here he comes, atop that leaderboard after his latest brilliant performance Friday night in a 4-1 victory over the
Kershaw tied a season high with 14 strikeouts while giving up one run over eight innings, never going more than three consecutive batters without a strikeout.
"He really set the tone for us," Manager
And, although this year's
Kershaw is 6-0 in his last 10 starts, with an ERA of 0.92, eight walks and 96 strikeouts.
Kershaw's 248 strikeouts in 2011 are his career high. Not for much longer, though. He has 236 already this season, seven more than major league runner-up Chris Sale of the
Kershaw twice has led the NL in strikeouts. In 2013, he finished third in the majors, behind
He said it would not mean too much to lead the majors in strikeouts.
"Not really," he said. "Leading the league in outs would be good, though."
He leads the NL in that category, 28 behind major league leader
Kershaw and the Dodgers benefited Friday from some alert baserunning, a rare sight at
In the third inning,
Mattingly praised Utley, a Dodger for all of a week, for running the bases aggressively but not recklessly. A player need not be fast, he said, to run the bases with smarts.
"Without bad-mouthing anybody else, it's just an awareness of how to run the bases," Mattingly said. "It's one of the areas we've honestly been lackadaisical."
After the Dodgers lost their fifth consecutive game last week, Kershaw said he hoped his teammates were "panicking a little bit," then amended his words to a "sense of urgency." The Dodgers are 4-0 since then, but Kershaw declined to take any credit Friday.
For one, he said, three of those victories came against the last-place
"I don't think they care," he said. "We're just playing good."
The Dodgers' Mat Latos (4-9, 4.81 ERA) faces the Cubs' Jon Lester (8-9, 3.44) on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Dodger Stadium. TV: SportsNet LA. Radio: 570, 1020.