Leading Off

Leading Off: Posey in MVP talk, but Kershaw’s the man

Maybe Buster Posey has taken one too many foul pitches off his catcher’s mask behind the plate.

He’s playing like he’s unconscious.

In the past 16 games Posey has played – beginning Aug. 21 at the Chicago Cubs – he has batted .493 with seven home runs and 21 RBIs. In the six September games entering Tuesday night against Arizona, he was hitting .565 with two homers and eight RBIs.

When most dinged-up catchers are just playing out the season, Posey is like a runaway locomotive charging the side of a mountain.

Suddenly, you can’t talk about the National League’s MVP without including Posey.

But even if Posey continues his torrid pace in the final 18 games, he’d be a long shot to take the award from Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who should be the first N.L. pitcher to win since Bob Gibson in 1968.

Kershaw – 18-3 with a miniscule 1.67 ERA – is having one of those seasons pitchers usually only dream about.

And it’s what Kershaw has done to ignite the Dodgers’ run toward the N.L. West Division title that separates him from Posey or Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who really shouldn’t be a true contender for third-place Miami.

Kershaw’s push toward the MVP Award – and without question his third Cy Young Award – came June 18, when he pitched a 15-strikeout, no-walk no-hitter over the Colorado Rockies.

Before that game, Kershaw was 6-2 with a 2.93 ERA, and opposing batters were averaging .293 against him. Since then, he is 12-1 with a 1.11 ERA with a pathetic .161 batting average by opposing hitters.

Where would the Dodgers be without Kershaw? Probably in second place behind Posey and the Giants.

Victor Contreras


Today’s poll

Who should win the N.L. MVP Award ?

• Buster Posey

• Clayton Kershaw

• Giancarlo Stanton

• Other

Vote above, or go to sacbee.com/sports

Poll results

What would best describe 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh?

• Great coach and humanitarian: 41%

• Overrated coach: 22%

• It doesn’t matter, as long as he wins: 37%

Total results: 358