LOS ANGELES -- Don Mattingly never would've felt this way in his playing days. But when he looks at Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw now -- as his manager -- he sees an MVP candidate.
"I flip-flopped from when I played, but as a manager you just see the value of what a guy like Clayton's been able to do," Mattingly said Saturday. "I do think it needs to be one of those years where it seems like it's almost extraordinary, and it seems to be one of those years. I see the value in that guy, as opposed to when I was playing -- not that you didn't see value in pitching -- but it's a different thing."
Kershaw came into Saturday night's duel against the Brewers with a 14-2 record, a Major League-best 1.78 ERA, a career-high 11-0 winning streak and back-to-back National League Pitcher of the Month honors.
The 26-year-old left-hander threw his first career no-hitter June 18 against the Rockies -- coming just an error short of a perfect game. He then went on a streak of 41 consecutive scoreless innings -- tied for the fifth-longest in Major League history since 1961.
On top of those accomplishments, Mattingly said Kershaw brings many intangibles to his Dodgers club.
"Our guy, I feel like is [a leader]," Mattingly said. "The Cardinals talk about what [Adam] Wainwright brings to the club over there and the leadership he brings. I think it's tougher for a starting pitcher because he's out there once every five days, but I think a guy like Clayton, I think there's a tremendous amount of respect for him and the way he goes about business."
For precedent of a pitcher winning an MVP Award, Mattingly said he looks at Roger Clemens' 1986 season with the Boston Red Sox, in which he went 24-4 with a 2.48 ERA to win both the American League Cy Young and MVP.
"He was just dominant," Mattingly said. "It seemed like every time he pitched, he won. Stopped losing streaks, continued winning streaks, started new ones. Those guys seem to be the guys that are going seven, eight innings every time out, save your bullpen. ... So there's a lot of value that you don't really see."
Michael Lananna is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.