LOS ANGELES -- The crowd was subdued and the lineups had a spring-training feel by the fifth inning. It wasn't exactly the atmosphere Clayton Kershaw was hoping for in his final 2012 start.
"Probably a lot of guys wouldn't have wanted to pitch tonight -- ah, what's it matter? -- but he just goes out and competes," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
Actually, it wasn't entirely meaningless. Kershaw locked up the National League ERA title for the second straight season with eight strong innings in the Dodgers' 5-1 win over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday. Was it enough to get him his second straight Cy Young Award?
The Dodgers didn't give him the run support of 2011, so he's going to have to sweat it out. Kershaw finished second in the league in strikeouts, one behind R.A. Dickey. He led the league in WHIP (1.02) and was second in innings pitched.
Kershaw was hoping to pitch the game that would get the Dodgers into a play-in game with the St. Louis Cardinals for the wild-card berth, but the Dodgers lost Tuesday night to the Giants, ending the race. He said he's not fixated on whether he's deserving of postseason awards.
"I don't care. It doesn't matter. I just want to pitch," Kershaw said. "It was fun today to get a win and hopefully just kind of build off these last nine games we played for next year."