Clayton Kershaw is good. Studies have been done, scouts have been asked, fantasy players have benefitted from his performances, this is pretty much confirmed by now. Since you’re curious about how the possibly compromised Madison Bumgarner will do against the ace of the Dodgers. The embedding is admittedly a little messy since I haven’t been doing this for a while and I’m lucky I’m able to do this post while my kid is awake. Here are the lines from Kershaw’s appearances (2008 was a relief appearance) against the Giants. Not a lot to look forward to if you’re a fan of the Giants offense.
2009 — I’m pretty sure I was at this game. It was not a fun game for the Giants offense.
2010 — good every time, but Giants won the title
2011 — one non-Kershaw start, but the others the Giants other three games had a combined 2 runs of offense
2012 — Kershaw was the Giants’ daddy
2013 — average earned runs per start: 1.5. The Giants still managed to win two games.
2014 — Kershaw allows three earned runs in May, gets beat. Otherwise, classic Kershaw.
2015 — Another non-Kershaw-type start in May, Giants post a winning record against Kershaw
2016 — clearly the pattern is the Giants will go undefeated against Kershaw, scoring 1 or 2 runs in every other start except for May, where he will allow 4 runs.
Per Hank Schulman, the Giants made no deals and per Tim Brown, the Dodgers also made no deals. The teams look the same, and will dig through the waiver wire to get in on a possible deal for another player, which they can do through the rest of the regular season, but only players picked up in the month of August will be eligible for postseason play.
Sabean said he wasn’t going to make a bad deal, and the urgency must come from players on the roster. His (in)action today reflects that.
— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) July 31, 2014
The Giants were linked to players like Emilio Bonifacio, Alex Rios, Bartolo Colon, and Chase Utley but were not linked to the likes of David Price, whom was traded to the Detroit Tigers today in a three-team trade, first reported by Ken Rosenthal.
The Giants resume baseball games on Friday as they go up against the New York Mets, whose field I heard was attack by some shark tornado.
Just thought you should know. The Dodgers beat Cleveland 1-0 and so the Giants are now in second by a half game. The Giants have played three fewer games than the Dodgers. The Dodgers are 16-7 in their last 23 games while the Giants are 8-15, so it shouldn’t be a big mystery how the Dodgers all of a sudden caught up in June. This is the first time the Giants have been in second since April 23rd.
Just thought you’d like to know.
June was awful.
Wednesday night, Clayton Kershaw threw his first career no-hitter, and the second no-hitter for the Dodgers of the season. This performance was easily more dominant than Josh Beckett, as Kershaw compiled fifteen strikeouts (a career high) and none of the twenty-eight hitters he faced received a free pass to first. The lone baserunner came on Hanley Ramirez‘s throwing error on a slow ground ball. This play brought back memories of Juan Uribe in Jonathan Sanchez‘s no-hitter, which was also a twenty-eight batter no-walk-no-hitter. MLB has uploaded a lot of videos from last night’s performance, so if you need them, just come back to this post to see what you need to see, because last night was certainly a performance for the ages.
Vin Scully’s call on the game, a treasure in itself, no-hitter or not. The clip includes Hanley Ramirez’s error in the seventh, a play which was similar to the one he made earlier in the game.
Clayton Kershaw’s interview with Alanna Rizzo, complete with gatorade bath, dancing, and bubbles.
Clayton Kershaw talking about his no-hitter in their post-game press conference.
Clayton’s wife, Ellen Kershaw, talks a little bit about the no-hitter. My wife loves her because “she looks like she’s twelve… like me.” Didn’t know the woman with Ellen in the stands was Chad Billingsley‘s wife. Mrs. Kershaw seems adorable.
In case you want the video of only the twenty-seventh out.
MLB.com put some video together of the Beckett and Kershaw no-no’s.
Some of Clayton’s teammates gave their thoughts. I felt the most meaningful words came from A.J. Ellis, his battery-mate, and close friend.
After years of watching Clayton Kershaw, baseball fans know this is the kind of performance he is capable of, and it’s a wonder that it’s taken this long for him to be able to achieve this accomplishment with the help of all his teammates and coaches. No hitters and perfect games involve a little luck going your way, some more lucky than others. This was not one of the luckier ones, this happened to be more of the ones that we are lucky to have watched. A great performance by a stellar talent and from all reports I’ve heard, an outstanding human being. Congratulations, Clayton Kershaw.
In 2013, the Dodgers were 9.5 games back on June 22nd, 2013 and still won the West by 11 games. The arrival of Yasiel Puig helped, but it wasn’t the only helping factor as Hanley Ramirez exploded and the Dodgers pulled off two consecutive six-loss months in July and August for a combined 42-12 (77.8 win%). That they had a 12-15 record in September tells you about how the NL West finally decided it wasn’t going to let the Think Blue crowd push them around. To repeat, the Dodgers went 12-15 in September and still finished up 11.0 games on the West. The Giants had 76 wins and finished in fourth, a whole 16.0 games back. On paper, the Dodgers have a lineup worth being scared of, and a 1-2-3 punch that makes you understand why Dodger fans dream large if this team makes the postseason.
The Dodgers starters are putting just about the same number of innings the Giants starters are, striking out about the same percentage, walking fewer players, getting ahead of players better, and the list goes on what a good rotation like that can do. Their offense has better OBP, wOBA, wRC+ numbers, but don’t have the same numbers the Giants do with RISP and 2 outs. Their defense has speed on their side, but hasn’t been able to post the overall numbers of converting fly balls and ground balls to outs like the Giants have, and have a middle of the road BABIP against. Their bullpen hasn’t been as lights out as I thought they could be, walking a bottom-five ratio while the Giants bullpen has walked the lowest. There are a lot of things that the Giants doing right, but it’s not like the Dodgers are pooping the bed every which way.
If you want to attribute it to chemistry, you can, but I’m not sure that just because the Yes! Movement is popular in San Francisco and not in Los Angeles it describes the ten-loss difference between the Giants and Dodgers. I doubt chemistry is the thing that’s knocking two out hits, that made Saturday night’s walk-off happen for the Giants. It’s not the reason Dee Gordon or Yasiel Puig are day-to-day, the reason for Brian Wilson being awful, why Matt Kemp was injured and why Carl Crawford is injured, nor is it the reason Clayton Kershaw had to take some starts off or why Bruce Bochy‘s in-game strategy is what it is. The Giants are playing great, and unless the Dodgers implode on all levels, they are still a legitimate threat to the Giants. There are still 100 games left for the Giants, after all. The Giants can go 50-50 and if the Dodgers hit 92 wins and go 60-39 in that span they win the West.
I’m waiting for the Dodgers to use their resources and options, internally and externally to field a more competitive club (because we know they have them), and perhaps get a little luckier in the process, netting more wins. They’re better than a one-game over-.500 club. The distance between the Dodgers and Giants is great, but not insurmountable. The Giants are looking like a team on a mission to setting a San Francisco record for wins, and this is looking like it might be a pretty fun ride. If it keeps up, I say no worries. But if it doesn’t, well, don’t think those Dodgers can’t make up ground.
Saturday’s showcasing of Madison Bumgarner throwing double-digit K’s against Paul Maholm and the Dodgers, I was relieved that the Giants took care of a game they should have had. Maholm is a back-end guy that hitters can take advantage of, while your chances are normally fewer against a starter like Bumgarner. While the Giants bullpen isn’t perfect, they’re not an awful bunch, especially when you get into the higher leverage situations. Still, having a 7-1 lead when Bumgarner left and winning 7-2 is right along the lines of what I expect to see when the Giants throw out one of their top four guys and the opposition sends out someone that is not of the front-line variety. Tonight’s game will not fit that description, as Matt Cain and Zack Greinke are both solid #2 guys in a top-heavy rotation, and while I hope the Giants sweep and win 18-0, seeing a low-scoring one-run game should be the expectations of near everybody.
The Starters — A recap of their first games
Zack Greinke and Matt Cain both went five innings in their first starts, not really reaching the distance fans know they are capable of. Both saw their pitch counts get into the nineties at the close of the fifth inning and each walked two batters. Cain saw seven hits get allowed, but no home runs, while Greinke fell victim to only two hits, one of which suffered the wrath of the hot start by Seth Smith. Both are pitching on four days of rest.
The Bullpen — Who’s Probably Out
Santiago Casilla threw thirty-seven pitches for the Giants in five outs of relief, so I’d say he’s to be used in emergency situations only. For the Dodgers, Jose Dominguez has been used in two straight games, so I’d expect him to be in the same boat as Casilla. Jamey Wright has also pitched in two straight, but only needed two pitches to do his work on Saturday, though I’d imagine Don Mattingly would like to avoid using Wright tonight. Paco Rodriguez leads the league in appearances at five, and it’s not difficult to remember that Paco got tired at the end of 2013, possibly due to overuse. The Dodgers have played seven games so far, and I’d hope Paco is getting a day off.
For the sweep-minded Giants:
Giants lineup tonight: Pagan CF, Belt 1B, Sandoval 3B, Posey C, Pence RF, Morse LF, Crawford SS, Adrianza 2B, Cain RHP
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) April 6, 2014
Thoughts on the lineup: A good lineup, I just might like Buster up in the 3-spot a little better. No Giants player has more than ten plate appearances against Greinke, so the players are still getting used to him, relatively speaking. That, as opposed to some of the Dodgers and Matt Cain, who’s been pitching in the NL West since 2005. For the close-to-.500 Dodgers:
Thoughts on the lineup: Andre Ethier has a .441/.467/.574 career line against Matt Cain and Adrian Gonzalez has four career HR off of Cainer, so it’s no surprise that they are in the so-called “heart” of the lineup, but I don’t think I agree with him being this far down. I think you can take Dee Gordon and put him behind Juan Uribe and get better results.
The Giants have won five straight at Dodger Stadium dating back to September 13th of last season, and have won seven of their last eight meetings with LA. I think they continue to deliver the pain, winning tonight against Greinke with most of the damage coming against and often-used bullpen in a 4-2 victory on national television.
If you’ve read Andrew Baggarly’s piece or Hank Schulman’s piece on the Baer interview, you’re probably all caught up on the news, so I’ll do my best to throw in my opinions as we go along so you don’t feel like you’re reading the same thing over, and over, and over again.
One of the many elephants in the room is the Los Angeles Dodgers and their sky-high payroll. The Giants brass will not, as Baer put it, “match them dollar for dollar,” and any baseball fan will tell you that having the highest payroll doesn’t buy you a championship, but it can definitely better your odds. Even though we shouldn’t expect the Giants to try and sign the biggest free agent out there, what Baer said (emphasis mine), was pretty important to put away for later:
“You can look at where the Dodgers are now. If you look at their track and other teams’ tracks, it’s pretty wild swings. There was a period recently before the new Dodgers ownership that we were $30-40 million ahead of them. They’ve gone up, they’ve gone down. I don’t know where they’re going to go from here. Maybe they’re going to go way up. We think we can get it done with a plan where each year, as long as business stays strong, we can go up. But we’re not looking for wild swings up, because usually what that necessitates is wild swings down.”
Baer said ownership is willing to spend more money in midseason to acquire players if the Giants are in the hunt.
“There’s some firepower left if warranted,” he said.
This saves the whole world a blog post later if the Giants are trying to add an outfielder, a starting pitcher, or maybe even a high-priced reliever. It saves us the speculation of saying, “Can the Giants add the contract of this player that has almost eight digits of dollars of money left for 2014.” We’re just left to wonder how much money equals “some firepower.” I also found the first sentence I bolded pretty insightful. It may not be my money they’re spending, but as a fan, I also don’t want to see the Giants in a rut because of their spending.
Baer doesn’t think Pablo Sandoval is necessarily gone from the Giants if an extension doesn’t get done. After all, Hunter Pence‘s deal still got done right before Pence hit the market. I agree with Baer here. I don’t see why a deal has to be impossible. If Pablo sees the Giants throwing out stupid money to him like they did to Lincecum, why should he say no? For those wanting the draft pick instead of Pablo, I’m guessing you haven’t seen what’s out there on the 3B market (or in-house) that could replace Pablo. It’s not good.
The A’s and Giants possibly sharing a park if the A’s need somewhere to go while they build a new stadium (if they ever get there) would be a nice gesture. It would give A’s fans a chance to watch baseball where baseball should be played: in a baseball stadium. Kind of like how Candlestick was the dump that belonged to Giants fans, the Coliseum is the dump that belongs to the A’s fans. Except their dump is probably starting to smell like one.
Not from the report that the beat writers talked about, but on the radio today I heard Baer mention that teams were calling the Giants about Brandon Belt. A player going into his first arbitration year that’s just starting to blossom? Why wouldn’t you want one of those? Not everybody has a Joey Votto, Prince Fielder, or Paul Goldschmidt on their team, so you can understand the need for the teams to kick the tires on Belt. Baer told Flem and Jon that the Giants made it clear Belt belongs to the Giants without saying the word “untouchable,” that’s what it seems like Belt was this winter.
Speaking of the Giants and the A’s, the Giants lost 10-5 today to the A’s. I’d recap it for you, but I didn’t watch it, nor did many other people outside of Scottsdale.