DETROIT -- Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw is putting up one of the best statistical seasons for a pitcher in recent memory, with a 12-7 record, 1.80 ERA and 182 strikeouts in 190 1/3 innings. His current 0.85 WHIP would be the fourth-lowest mark in the live-ball era.
Those numbers, along with the team's recent winning streaks, have been creating buzz for Kershaw as a National League Most Valuable Player Award candidate. If he were to win the award, Kershawk would become the first pitcher since Tigers starter Justin Verlander won the American League MVP Award in 2011. No NL pitcher has won the award since Bob Gibson in 1968.
Despite the difference in leagues, Verlander said Kershaw has been the best pitcher in baseball, and his opinion hasn't changed that deserving pitchers should be considered for MVP. Verlander also noted there are a number of factors involved for a pitcher to win the award.
"My year, there weren't a lot of guys that had huge years, offensively," Verlander said. "I don't know what's going on in the National League, I haven't really paid attention, but I had one of those perfect years."
While some critics will point out that pitchers have the Cy Young Award to battle for, Verlander said there is a difference between the two.
"I think Cy Young is starting to go towards sabermetrics -- ERA, ERA+, lots of different things besides just win-losses and traditional Triple Crown stats [wins, ERA and strikeouts]," Verlander said. "When you start talking about MVP, it needs to be one of those all-encompassing type years.
"I know what a 1.80 [ERA] means, and I know how incredible it is, regardless of the league. That's just Nintendo numbers."
Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.