Dodgers Report: Gio Gonzalez

Kershaw deserved more Cy Young votes

November, 14, 2012
11/14/12
5:53
PM PT
If you’re going to lose out on a prestigious award, you might as well lose it to the feel-good story of the year.

The Baseball Writers Association of America awarded R.A. Dickey the 2012 Cy Young award Wednesday, making Dickey the first knuckleballer ever to win it.

Was he a better pitcher than Clayton Kershaw, who was bidding for back-to-back Cy Youngs? Probably not. But it wasn’t the biggest robbery in the history of the trophy.

The absurdity of the vote was the breadth of Dickey’s victory. Dickey garnered 27 of the 32 first-place votes. That’s hardly indicative of his edge over the other finalists, especially Kershaw, who received just two first-place votes. Ridiculously, two of the 32 voters left Kershaw entirely off their ballot.

Kershaw led the National League in ERA (2.53) and WHIP (1.02) and finished second (by one) to Dickey in strikeouts (229). Many of Dickey’s edges were the result of accumulation, while Kershaw’s were the result of how dominating he was start to start.

Kershaw had the best WAR (wins above replacement) among NL pitchers, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

If the 30 major league GMs were asked who they'd rather have in their rotation for next season, 30 of them would probably say Kershaw over Dickey ... but that's not the same as saying he should have won the 2012 award.

Unlike the other two finalists for the award, Kershaw hasn’t reached the age when most pitchers are at their prime. He doesn’t turn 25 until March. Gio Gonzalez is 27. Dickey is 38.

If the Los Angeles Dodgers lock him up to a long-term deal, which seems like only a matter of time, who knows how many of these things he could win.

You can blame the voters for the result and justly so, but you also have to point the finger at Kershaw’s teammates. Due to low run support and some relief missteps, Kershaw won just 14 games. If he had won 20, I'm guessing he would have been thanking the voters live, via satellite, in his acceptance speech.

Had he taken the Cy Young, Kershaw would have done so with the lowest win total since Felix Hernandez won it with 13 in 2010. It would have been the lowest total for an NL Cy Young winner since Eric Gagne had two wins (and 55 saves) in 2003.

The only shame of the matter is that it deprives Kershaw of something to brag about over the man to whom he’s constantly compared. Sandy Koufax didn’t go back-to-back in the Cy Young until 1966, when he was three years older than Kershaw is now.

In those days, they only awarded one trophy for both leagues. Koufax was hurt for part of 1965 and the Angels’ Dean Chance broke up what might have been four straight Cy Youngs for Koufax.

Take heart, Clayton: There’s always next year (and the year after that).

Desperation time in D.C.

September, 17, 2012
9/17/12
11:00
AM PT


On April 29, Chris Capuano won a 2-0 game over Gio Gonzalez at Dodger Stadium as the Dodgers finished a three-game sweep of the Washington Nationals. And here's how much the Dodgers can take from that as they prepare for three crucial games in the nation's capital starting Tuesday:

"Pretty much nothing," manager Don Mattingly said.

The Nationals hadn't emerged as a World Series contender yet, nobody knew Gonzalez was going to push ahead as a Cy Young Award contender, and the Dodgers were still a bunch of scrappy overachievers. The identity of both teams has changed dramatically. In the Dodgers' case, it has changed physically, with the wholesale roster turnover around both trade deadlines.

"We know we can play with anybody if we play and do the things we're capable of," Mattingly said. "They've had a great year and we've just got to play the game as we get there."

This isn't exactly an ideal time to run into the best team in the National League. The Dodgers' best hitter, Matt Kemp, is in a spiraling batting slump, and their second-best hitter, Adrian Gonzalez, is coming off a feeble 0-for-5 day, before which he described his swing as "a wreck."

The shortstop, Hanley Ramirez, seems to boot one crucial ball every game. The ace, Clayton Kershaw, will spend Tuesday visiting a hip specialist in New York and may not pitch again in 2012.

All of which just might give Dodgers fans reason for hope and optimism. Why? Because this team has done the opposite of what people expect at virtually every turn. They were supposed to be mediocre at best when the season started, and they opened 16-6. After all of the trades, they were supposed to be headed straight for the playoffs; they're 8-13 since the big one with the Boston Red Sox.

They have fallen out of the NL West race, are clinging to the wild-card chase and they have scored more than three runs just twice in their past nine games. The good news is the Dodgers won't face Stephen Strasburg (who has been shut down for the season to preserve his long-term health) or Gonzalez.

The big U-turn Dodgers fans keep waiting for probably isn't going to happen if Kemp continues to bat .122, as he has this month. He has struck out 14 times, walked once and driven in two runs. It's no wonder the Dodgers can't seem to get this pennant race going.

"His character is great, so I know he's going to come out of it," Mattingly said.

This is the time of year when the Dodgers need all of the character they can get.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Clayton Kershaw
WINS ERA SO IP
16 1.73 194 161
OTHER LEADERS
BAY. Puig .301
HRA. Gonzalez 18
RBIA. Gonzalez 90
RD. Gordon 73
OPSY. Puig .882
ERAC. Kershaw 1.73
SOC. Kershaw 194