Archive for the ‘Clayton Kershaw’ Category

MLB: NLCS-Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals

Update! Right on cue, the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw agreed to a seven-year, $215 million contract extension with an opt-out option after five years – the highest annual average value contract in baseball history.

It doesn’t matter how much money your cable deal is worth or how much equity your billion dollar franchise earns each year – $300 million is a lot of money. For one baseball player, that is an unbelievable amount of money on one contract.

If that contract stretches into the range of ten or twelve years, it is understandable if even the gun slingingest general manager blanches at the thought. For a pitcher? Heart attack territory.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are in the eye of the storm right now. They have the money and they have the desire and, most importantly, they have the player. The Dodgers stand poised to ink Clayton Kershaw to a record-setting deal – a deal that could smash previously held standards for dollar amounts, term, everything. As easy as it might be to question the wisdom of a such a contract given orthodox thinking on the volatile nature of pitchers, one niggling thought stays in the back of my mind: if Clayton Kershaw isn’t good enough to throw conventional wisdom out the window, then who is?

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MLB: ALCS-Detroit Tigers at Boston Red Sox

It wasn’t a slam dunk but Max Scherzer was the odds-on favorite to be named to the AL Cy Young award after his great season. Yes, he picked up the required pitcher wins that tend to swing these votes but Scherzer is no Bob Welch.

The race in the American League was such that there was no sure shot to take home the honor. Hisashi Iwakuma did a great job of preventing runs, though he did so in a bigger ballpark and posted pedestrian strikeout rates. Yu Darvish had the innings and strikeouts but struggled at times with the long ball.

In the end, it was Scherzer who managed to sway the vote thanks to his combination of strikeouts, innings and yes wins to take home the AL Cy Young award.

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beltran the best

Playoff baseball tends to evoke the memories of great pitching duels. To aces matched-up, throwing BBs for eight innings, demonstrating how and why the two competeting teams made it this far.

Despite David Price‘s gutty effort in the tiebreaker game, we were yet to be treated to such pitching prowess. Until last night, that is.

Clayton Kershaw put on a postseason pitching performance to remember, a far cry from the guy who appeared near tears in the Dodgers dugout in the 2009 NLCS, having just walked five Phillies in just 4.2 innings.

Clayton Kershaw pitched exactly how one expects an ace and Cy Young shoo-in to pitch. He seemed to get strong as the game went on, striking out 12 Braves — recording eight of his last nine outs by strikeout — while allowing just one run on three hits and three walks.

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Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks

Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball. There, I said it. The 2011 Cy Young award winner might have won a second straight award in 2012 were it not for R.A. Dickey‘s career year. Here in 2013, Kershaw has all but wrapped up more silverware, though he and his first-place Dodgers have designs on more than just individual accolades.

Kershaw is the total package – he has great control and an assortment of superlative offerings. Fastball, curveball, slider – he can miss bats and throw them all for strikes in just about any count. He’s about to rack up his fourth consecutive 200 inning season. He’s a leader in the clubhouse and a well-spoken advocate off the field. He is about to become very, very well paid for what he does because, well, he does it better than just about anybody in the game.

Getting Blanked caught up with Clayton Kershaw to take about how he prepares and how he adjusts to the poor, overmatched lineups he leaves in his wake.

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New York Mets v Minnesota Twins

During the long, cold off-season, a tiny morsel of info leaked out from the Orioles front office. Turns out some tall foreheads in the O’s analytics department pounded their keyboards to the bone to learn that there is a “magic number” as it relates to winning ball games: 39 batters faced. If, when pitching at home, a team can keep the total plate appearances of their opponents under 39, they stand a great chance to win.

In the interests of due diligence, let’s check in on this phenomenon as we near the end of May. Does the 38 batters faced threshold still make the difference between winning and losing? Spoiler: of course it does!

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Clayton Kershaw is a really good pitcher. He won the Cy Young award in 2011, judged to be the best pitcher in the National League thanks to his gaudy line of 233 innings pitched, 21 wins, a strikeout-to-walk ratio near 5 and a 2.28/2.47/2.84 ERA/FIP/xFIP line. Terrific.

Kershaw posted nearly identical numbers in 2012, only falling short in the win department. He still managed 227 innings, a 3.63 K/BB rate and his “line” looks like 2.53/2.89/3.25. Still awesome. He finished second in Cy Young voting to R.A. Dickey, whose season was terrific (as is his backstory.)

The 2011 Cy Young race was close (though the voting suggests otherwise), as Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee posted incredible seasons for the Phillies. My personal pick for top pitcher that year was Halladay, as Kershaw has the advantage in home ballpark and quality of opponents.

Clayton Kershaw is a dominant pitcher both in spacious Dodger Stadium and on the road, too. In 2012, he allowed just a .250 wOBA on the road, second best in baseball. A terrific demonstration of that he is no one-trick pony – he can bring it in any environment.

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The Los Angeles Dodgers will have pitcher Clayton Kershaw back on the mound against the Cincinnati Reds after no setbacks were reported from his recent throwing program.

Kershaw, who last pitched September 11th against the Arizona Diamondbacks, was examined this week by a hip specialist after some feared he may be lost for the year. It was determined the Dodgers ace could return to the mound without risking damage to his ailing right hip.

This is good news for a Dodgers team that currently sits three games back of the St. Louis Cardinals for the final Wild Card spot in the National League. On the season, Kershaw has recorded a 2.70 ERA, 2.95 FIP and 3.21 xFIP.