The NL MVP will not be Clayton Kershaw
Everyone right now says that Clayton Kershaw is the MVP. This sentiment stems from Kershaw’s latest tour-de-force against the Milwaukee Brewers in Miller Park.
Kershaw, against one of the better lineups in baseball, went eight innings allowing one run, six hits, two walks and struck out six. Kershaw also helped himself with an RBI single and made an acrobatic double play.
Kershaw won his 14th game of the season. He’s in a four-way tie with Wily Peralta, Johnny Cueto and Adam Wainwright for the most in the National League.
The difference is Kershaw has two losses and he’s on pace for the highest winning percentage since Greg Maddux in 1995 who went 19-2. Kershaw also leads the NL with a 1.78 ERA, five complete games and a 6.2 WAR to lead all players.
This is all after Kershaw missed the month of April. The Los Angeles Dodgers are also five games ahead of the San Francisco Giants in the NL West and have the best record in the league.
But Kershaw is still a pitcher. Pitchers rarely receive the MVP award. Pitchers with more dominant years than Kershaw haven’t been the MVP. And he’s missed a month of contribution.
That leaves Giancarlo Stanton. The day after Kershaw’s magnificence, Stanton did what he did best against the St. Louis Cardinals. Stanton set the tone in a critical three-game series.
He hit two home runs in the first three innings to give the Marlins a 3-0 lead. The Marlins would go on to win the game 6-5. The two home runs gave Stanton 31 to extend his lead to six over Anthony Rizzo. His three RBIs gave him 81 to lead the NL and he also leads the league in walks with 71 and total bases with 249.
Stanton has a chance to hit .300, 40 HR and 100 RBIs. Even if he just hits 40 home runs he’ll likely be the only one. The problem for Stanton is if the Marlins fall out of contention. They are 58-60 and 4 1/2 games back of the Cardinals in the wild card race. The Marlins don’t have to win the wild card for Stanton to win the MVP, but finishing at .500 would help.
The Marlins’ schedule lays out pretty favorably to make a move too. After the Cardinals, they have the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Texas Rangers and the Rockies. They also have 12 games against the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies.