This past summer the Dodgers inked their ace Clayton Kershaw to a 7-year / $215 million dollar contract. The deal gave Kershaw the highest average salary in Major League history at $30.7 million/year, just a nudge higher than C.C Sabathia's $30 million/year contract with the Yankees back in 2011. So when the left-hander took a rare trip to the DL with lower back discomfort to start off the season, fans across the nation almost simultaneously began jeering that the fat contract was making Kershaw 'soft'.
As of late, Kershaw has put any thought of a mega-contract 'hangover' to rest. Kershaw returned to the Dodgers in May and has been dynamite since.
Kershaw, during June, put together one of the greatest months statistically by a starting pitcher in Major League history. His numbers included an undefeated 6-0 record, a minuscule 0.82 ERA and 61 strikeouts over that span.
During June, Kershaw also put on a performance for the ages by pitching a no-hitter (which very well should have been a perfect game) against the Colorado Rockies on June 18 at Chavez Ravine. During his masterpiece Kershaw became the first pitcher to strike out 15 batters while allowing no hits or walks in the process. That outing is regarded by some baseball historians and followers as the 'greatest game ever pitched.'
What's really scary is that Kershaw is a brisk 26-years-old... with two Cy Young trophies already on his mantle. A third Cy Young is very possible, considering that Clayton stays at this brilliant pace. Kershaw holds a 9-2 record, 2.04 ERA and 107 strikeouts to this point in the season. The Texan is also currently riding a career-high 28 consecutive scoreless innings streak.
Kershaw is undoubtedly building himself a Cooperstown legacy at this rate of success. In 2011, he won the elusive pitching Triple Crown en route to his first Cy Young Award. A career 85-48 record with a studly 2.58 ERA over his 7-year career puts Kershaw atop the tier of elite pitchers in this generation.
While the National League is loaded with prominent pitchers having solid seasons, such as Johnny Cueto, Adam Wainwright, or even Dodger teammate Zack Greinke, if Kershaw stays in his electric 'June-form' no ace will get in his way for more Cy Young hardware.