Dodgers News: Trayce Thompson, Scott Van Slyke Praise Clayton Kershaw’s Focus And Preparation
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Although it may not have seemed possible, Clayton Kershaw has reached new heights this season, with the Los Angeles Dodgers needing every bit of it. Their left-handed ace takes the mound Sunday night at PNC Park with the Dodgers mired in a two-game rut after reeling off six consecutive wins.

Kershaw’s dominant run dates back to 2011 when he won the first of three National League Cy Young Awards. In 2014, he also added the NL MVP Award, and could just as easily have a fourth Cy Young if not for R.A. Dickey putting together a comparable season in 2012.

For as great as he’s been for the Dodgers every fifth day, Kershaw’s work between starts is the stuff of legend. He’s notoriously regimented and is often the first player seen working out on the field of whatever stadium the Dodgers are in.

Then on days that he starts, it’s known Kershaw has a laser-like focus and isn’t one for much talk. His teammate and close friend Scott Van Slyke recently said Kershaw’s mindset is what puts him ahead of his contemporaries, per Doug Padilla of ESPN:

“Game day comes and he’s about as locked in as anybody could get, honestly, about anything,” teammate and close friend Scott Van Slyke said. “I can’t imagine anybody being as focused as he is on the day of his starts. I think that is honestly what separates him. I know every big league pitcher works hard … the good ones do. It’s a gift from God, honestly, his talent plus his makeup.”

Trayce Thompson, a newcomer to the Dodgers organization, marveled at Kershaw’s work ethic and preparation:

“I have never seen somebody similar to his routine and preparation and dedication to be great,” Los Angeles Dodgers newcomer Trayce Thompson said. “It’s inspiring and makes me want to work as hard as I can. I always thought I did, but there is another level just to have the focus. It’s not even about the time, it’s about the focus and the edge he puts into his preparation. He’s definitely a different breed.”

Kershaw will take the mound against the Pirates with an 11-1 record, 1.57 ERA, 1.59 FIP and 0.67 WHIP. He leads the Majors in several categories including, ERA, innings pitched (115), ERA+ (247) and strikeouts (141).

The Dodgers are 14-1 in games Kershaw has started this season, compared to 27-34 in all other games.