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Sunday, June 29, 2014
Kershaw, Hernandez overpowering in June

By ESPN Stats & Information

Los Angeles Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw just completed one of the most impressive calendar months in major league history. Kershaw allowed zero runs and struck out 13 in seven innings as the Dodgers blanked the St. Louis Cardinals 6-0.

Kershaw went 6-0 with an 0.82 ERA and 61 strikeouts in June. He’s the only pitcher in major league history to be unbeaten with that many wins, that many strikeouts and an ERA that low in a single calendar month.

Only three other pitchers have gone 6-0 with a sub-1.00 ERA and 50 or more strikeouts in a month: Hideo Nomo in June 1995, Randy Johnson in April 2000 and Justin Verlander in June 2011.

Kershaw's 61 strikeouts in June were the most by any Dodgers pitcher in any month since Sandy Koufax had 62 in June 1966.

Kershaw’s month included a no-hitter and ended with a streak of 28 scoreless innings. He now has 107 strikeouts and only 11 walks this season. His ERA is 1.11 with seven runs allowed in eight starts since getting pounded for seven runs by the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 17.

How he dominated
Kershaw owned the month largely because of a super sharp slider. He had 34 strikeouts with his slider and 14 more with his curveball. His 48 breaking ball strikeouts were 18 more than the next pitcher, Yu Darvish.

When he wasn’t striking hitters out, he was getting them to hit the ball on the ground. Kershaw’s 65 percent ground ball rate was the highest in the majors this month.

He wasn’t the only one who owned Sunday … and June
Felix Hernandez was basically the AL version of Kershaw, both on Sunday and in June. Hernandez threw eight scoreless one-hit innings in a win over the Cleveland Indians and improved to 3-1 with a 1.22 ERA for the month, with 54 strikeouts and only six walks. The Hernandez changeup was vintage in June and netted 57 outs while yielding only three hits and two walks.

Hernandez bested Kershaw, barely, in one statistical category in June: Hernandez enters the final day of the month with the lowest opponents’ OPS in the majors, .410, which is nine points better than Kershaw's.

Looking ahead
Both Kershaw and Hernandez will get strong consideration to start the 2014 All-Star Game. Neither has started one previously.

Kershaw is trying to become the first Dodgers pitcher to start an All-Star Game since Brad Penny in 2006. Hernandez would be the first Seattle Mariners pitcher since Johnson in 1997.

Kershaw’s competition includes Johnny Cueto and Adam Wainwright, both of whom have ERAs hovering around 2.00. Wainwright also had a great June and finished with a 1.16 ERA for the month.

Hernandez might also have moved a notch ahead of New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka for All-Star starting consideration. Both have 2.10 ERAs this season. Hernandez is a hair better in WHIP, with 0.92 to Tanaka’s 0.95.