Thursday, June 27, 2013
Thoughts: Kershaw versus Posey
By David Schoenfield
Quick thoughts on Wednesday night's Giants-Dodgers game ...
- So it came down to the ninth inning, Dodgers up 4-2, Clayton Kershaw going for the complete game. Marco Scutaro led with a ground single to right on a 3-2 fastball. A Marco Scutaro hit. That brought up Buster Posey. Kershaw was at 104 pitches. What do you do? Posey is hitting .356 and slugging .603 against left-handers, after hitting .433 and slugging .793 against southpaws last year. Still ... it's Clayton Kershaw, the best pitcher in the game. Kenley Jansen isn't exactly chopped liver but had allowed five home runs in 38 innings. I probably leave in Kershaw, but Don Mattingly's decision to bring Jansen is 100 percent defensible. Posey singled to center -- Matt Kemp was in no-doubles but also get a terrible jump on the ball, a good example of why his defensive metrics never score well. But Jansen worked out of the jam, striking out Hunter Pence on some high cheese and Pablo Sandoval after he'd fouled off four pitches and then getting Brandon Belt to pop out.
- Yasiel Puig had three more hits, raising his average to .435. However, he also did this, trying to stretch a single into a double and getting thrown out by 25 feet. As Vin Scully said, "Oh my goodness. I mean, come on." Not surprisingly, Puig -- like Bryce Harper running into walls -- still has to rein in a few aspects of his game.
- Tim Lincecum had another mediocre outing, 10 hits and four runs in 5.1 innings. He's just not going to be the pitcher he once was. He's pitched much better at home -- a .209 average allowed as opposed to .316 on the road -- but seems to lack the confidence on the road to attack hitters. His road ERA over the past two seasons (24 starts) is now 6.02. His fastball was once good enough to set up his other pitches, but no longer. In 2011, batters hit .266 off the fastball, but they're hitting .303 off it in 2013.
- The Giants are now 38-40 and head out to Colorado and Cincinnati for seven more road games. They're not out of in the NL West, where 86 or 87 wins may end up being enough, but they can't afford a bad stretch in those seven games. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are looking a little more interesting with five straight wins. Hanley Ramirez is killing, Kemp is back after missing 25 games (although we'll see if he starts hitting) and they have PUIG. Which team do you think ends up with the better record?