Categorized | Mark Timmons

Kershawshanked!

Kershawshanked!

His ERA now sits at 2.95,as Clayton Kershaw won his 5th in  row and kept the Dodgers from losing 3 in a row.  In 106 innings this year, he has allowed just 70 hits!   In his last 24 innings he has allowed just 8 hits, and his ERA for july is a microscopic 0.38.   I have long predicted that Clayton would be our ace, and Billingsley would be our #2, but I never thought it would happen this quick.  This is not so much about Billingsley struggling, as it is about Clayton Kershaw realizing his potential at a very young age.  If the playoffs started today, is there another pitcher on ANY team that is pitching as well as Young Clayton?  Dodger fans, you are seeing the Clayton Kershaw maturing into a superstar!  These guys don’t come along that often, but we currently have the incarnations of Sandy

Billingsley & Kershaw - Stolen from True Blue LA

Billingsley & Kershaw - Stolen from True Blue LA

 Koufax and Don Drysdale on our team.  To truly become Drysdale, Chad has to get a little meaner, which bring me to the question of What’s Wrong With Chad Billingsley?  Nothing, Just Evolution…  No, he’s not turning into a monkey.  He’s evolving into a better pitcher.  Better? He’s worse!  Here’s the deal – he’s mastering a new pitch – the cutter, and he’s over-emphasizing it right now to get the proper “feel” for it.  Sometimes you have to get worse before you get better. 

 I got the idea from Kensai (although he didn’t come to the same conclusion as I) of MemoriesofKevinMalone.com.   According to Kensai (and I’m trusting him and his statistics),  Chad is throwing his fastball a lot less and his cutter a lot more:

Billingsley is throwing less than 50% fastballs this year, which way down from 59.2% last year, and 64.8% in 2007. He’s now throwing his cutter 28.7% of the time, compared to 20.9% last year, and his rate of curves is up from 17.5% to 20.7%.

OK, that makes sense.  His velocity isn’t down and there appears to be nothing physically wrong with him.  Now, I know what is happening – he is evolving!  Maybe the Dodger staff is asking him to master the cutter.  Maybe he’s doing iy himself, but I think in his next start of two, you will see a different result.  Now, if we can just get Kuroda back on track…

TJ Simers of The LA Times has an excellent one-liner today:  “[Kershaw's] name has been tossed around in trade rumors, but only from the clueless.”

Belisario is throwing without pain.  Expect to see him in a game or two in the minors next week.

About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

35 Responses to “Kershawshanked!”

  1. Michael says:

    Just a couple thoughts before I leave to babysit all day and miss the game. Dan Haren is probably on a par with young Clayton pf late. I have had enough DNPs for James Loney[2 in the last 3 days]to last me a lifetime. Hope Russell gets the day off. I want Brad to work with Hiroki this go around. Go Dodgers:}

  2. Michael says:

    of late edit button

  3. OrelSax says:

    Cool!

  4. Roger says:

    The 8th and 9th innings last night need to stop. For a few minutes they had the Dodgers by the throat. Bleeding all over the place.

    Thank goodness the Pirates have stopppppped the Giants in their tracks.

  5. Blue Haze says:

    give an assist to the 1b umpire for that win. How the hell can an umpire miss that call?

  6. Roger says:

    Blue Haze, are you suggesting that the Umps have picked the Dodgers to win, bet big on them, and will make it happen?

    We KNOW that happens in basketball . . . That is the NBA and the officials of games . . . like the Lakers to win. For years now.

  7. Badger says:

    Didn’t see it. Wahapin?

    Bullpen. It’s rattlin’ down there.

    OK Clayton, maybe you have decided to trust your stuff, maybe this is just one of those stretches, whatever, good job kid.

    If he is still here going 7 September…… Ima beleever!

    I am thrilled we can stop bleeding after 2 games. That’s quite an accomplishment for any team. I am still cautious about July, August and September. It’s a long way to go, and I wonder what Jed has in his Plan B file.

    Other than Kershaw, it’s not like we shut them down for 9 and tore the cover off the ball. But, it’s a win, and I’ll take it.

  8. Ken says:

    Ace Clayton improved when he started throwing a 4th pitch.

    Yoga makes a person Soft.

    Bills is throwing a 4 seamer when he should be throwing a 2 seamer and his 4 seamer is getting blasted.

    Hopefully Kuroda goes at elast 5 becasue Monday will be another Bullpen Game.

  9. Bill Russell says:

    As good as Kershaw was last night he still wasn’t getting his curveball over the plate consistantly. If he ever masters that pitch then we can start comparing him to the other Dodger greats.

    A couple of blown calls again last night. I also think Raffy tagged Bourns at second base on the steal last night. Very close play but the call at first Stevie Wonder could have made. The Ump’s are watching out for Hudson’s GG award.

    Broxtons another person we should start worrying about. Not sure if it’s the toe or an excuse to be bad in the second half. I’m leaning towards the toe pain but I guess.

    I read that Joe Torre wants Halliday on his squad and he’s letting it be known. I agree with CB that if Bills or Kershaw is involved it’s counterproductive. I would think that Toronto wants prospects that will all develop at the same time. McDonald, Lambo, Elbert, Ellis and Hu. If that would land Halliday for this year and next, that would give us two shots at the Championship 2009-2010. I wonder if Kershaw could pick up a pitch from him? I wouldn’t hurt..

    Any update on the development of A J Pollock which was taken with our 17th pick of the draft last year? Mark should put up the A J watch on this site for all to follow.

    Well a win today and we split this series and move on to the next challenge. GO Blue

  10. Badger says:

    St. Louis has said they will present Toronto with an opportunity to choose any 4 prospects. A rotation of Halladay/ Carpenter/ Wainwright/ Lohse/ Pineiro would carry that team deep into the play-offs. I have read they think they can afford Halladay’s rich contract for the next two years. If the Cards get Halladay, they are immediately the favorites. I read what the offer might be, Wallace, Jones, Samuel, and Kozma, but since I don’t know the prospects, I have no idea if we can compete or not. I have no time now to research it, but, maybe someone else can or I’ll look later.

    We all likely believe we are going to make an offer. The bids will be high. It should be interesting.

  11. RoyalDodger says:

    “To truly become Drysdale, Chad has to get a little meaner…”

    More like a LOT meaner.

    Chad still has tremendous upside, but many believe it would benefit him to be more aggressive, especially inside.

    I agree overall with your assesment of his learning curve though. It sure is fun to watch the kids mature while we lick our lips in anticipation.

    (New poster here. I enjoy your blog Mark)

  12. Badger says:

    Over at MLB Rumors there is nobody talking Dodgers in the Halladay sweepstakes. Yankees, Phils, White Sox, Brewers – with several teams having scouts at today’s Toronto game…. but no Dodgers personnle mentioned being there.

    Could it be that we already know the price is too steep?

    Or…… we already know with whom we pull the trigger?

  13. Ken says:

    BR

    Toronto has a lot of free agents leaving after next year.

  14. DRomo says:

    Badger,
    One good thing is no one is talking Dodgers/Halladay. Remember how many people were saying Ramirez to the Dodgers last year. Zero. Maybe thats a good thing.

    The first base ump totally missed that call last night. But what stuck out to me is how O-Dog still can’t make that back hand play very well. That is what caused that play to be bang bang.

    Mark,
    For Chad to be more like Drysdale he has to get meaner? Sounds like you agree with me. The kid is a wuss and doesn’t trust his pitches.Even if he is working on something there is no excuse to nibble the way he does with 2 strikes and then give in. An old pitching coach used to say “If you are scared buy a dog, if not go out there and pitch. Trust the 7 guys behind you.”

    Bills will only be a #2 when he grows a pair.

  15. mark says:

    You seldom see much info sbout Dodger trades – they always keep their cards close to the vest.

    On the Cards: Even if the Jays took 4 minor league players, I don’t think the Crads have enough to offer.

    The Phils do with Drabek.

    Except for ther fact that the Phils might offer Drabek, the Dodgers have more to offer than anyone.

  16. Ken says:

    So this is what the season has come down to a bunch of overrated players being shown up by a has been like Ortiz who gets bombed the second time through the line up by every other team.

  17. Mark Timmons says:

    They do that sometimes and still have one of the best offenses in baseball. Go figure…

  18. Mark Timmons says:

    Brooklyn Dodger tried to post this earlier and the spam caught him (I don’t know why), but here it is:

    I attempted to post what’s below twice in the previous thread, but it never took. Given Kershaw’s performance tonight, my comment concerning the insanity of including him (or Billingsley) in a deal for Halladay is all that more compelling

    Josh Lindblom is no doubt a good prospect, but there is nothing in his performances this year at AA and AAA that screams for him to be brought up. And what makes anyone think he wouldn’t experience the same growing pains we’ve seen with Billingsley and Kershaw? If spring training was a strong indicator of success, then Wilson Valdez should have been a star with the Dodgers in 2007. And there was that outfielder (his name escapes me), who also lit it up during the spring of 2007, who I think, is no longer playing anywhere. Here are Lindblom’s stats so far this year:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=lindbl001jos

    Actually bad performances in the spring don’t tell us much either. If memory serves me correct, Brent Leach, who’s currently doing commendable work for the Dodgers, was bombed during the spring.

    Trading Bills or Kershaw for Halladay would be insane. Halladay, no doubt is one of the better pitchers in the game, but he has absolutely no experience in the postseason. He’s a control, pitch to contact type pitcher who gives up a lot of hits. In other words, he doesn’t fit the profile of a guy likely to blow through good lineups in the postseason. In fact, if the Dodgers did manage to get to the WS, Halladay would be no mystery to any team he faced. Nevertheless, he would be a welcome addition to the staff, but only if the price is right.

    Also, I’m not willing to sacrifice our future for a chance to win THIS YEAR. That’s a gamble I prefer not to take, since, in fact, getting Halladay doesn’t guarantee anything. I prefer to build a team that I think can be a perennial winner. I don’t want to repeat 1988 again, winning one year and waiting another 20 or more (when I may be dead) for a repeat performance.

    Getting our young players to the big leagues was an accomplishment. Allowing them to mature and develop into big league winners takes a little more time. Some of you are worried that once Manny is gone it will be all downhill. I like to think that the development of Kemp, Ethier, Loney, etc., and other additions, will more than make up for his departure, either after this season or next.

    I held my breath when Broxton came in tonight. He has been pretty awful lately when coming into games after a long layoff. I thought the Dodgers should have stayed with Troncoso, especially since the latter was not available to back Broxton up in case of trouble (of which there was plenty). I hope that after tonight’s “tuneup” Broxton is back to being ready to close. But I’ll still hold my breath until I see him return to his pre-injury form.

  19. Roger says:

    Flash: Loney must need glasses or at least to have his eyes checked.

    He is just not hitting the ball on the bat, solid. Just not.

    No extra innings, get this one by the 9th as a win.

    The Dodger pen cannot take too many extra innings.

  20. Mark Timmons says:

    Uh, Oh!

    Here’s Brox…

  21. Mark Timmons says:

    Hey, Brox did it!

  22. Roger says:

    Casey Blake needs to get his eyes checked. He has not done much of late. Up many times, and has not come through. Drop him back to 8th in the order.

    Broxton is back. Kemp is in stride. Ethier is back.

  23. Ken says:

    Kemp is better than Bonds, Sr.; Bat him lead off.

    Ethier should keep trying to hit singles, i.e., Be a team player.

  24. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Mark,

    Thanks for rescuing my comments.

    I too was at a loss to figure out why Ortiz seems to have our number. Looks to me that Manny’s timing is a little off on off speed pitches (is that too many “offs”?). I don’t expect it to be long before it comes back.

  25. Bill Russell says:

    Halliday pitched a gem today against the RED SOX. If we can trade prospects for him I say DO IT. Logan can rebuild the farm in no time. We sure have some fickle fans in here. Bat Ethier in the middle and drop Blake? Last week it was bat Ethier 8th. Furcal is the one I’m disappointed in. It kills me when we have a runner on third with less then two outs and can’t get them home. Furcal failed us twice today. How about a squeeze play?

    Any update on the O DOG? We are screwed if it’s a bad injury? He was the machine that made us run……

  26. Roger says:

    Bill, someone has to be thinking on the Dodger team for a squeeze play. It has to be called.

    Dodgers played better when Manny was caught and had to sit 50 games. Everyone was thinking then.

    Now, that he is back, it is like, “Well, Manny is back and just wait for him to get hot.”

  27. SpokaneBob says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if Schmidt and Kuo filled our pitching needs.

    I agree wtih Brooklyn

    If we can’t get outside help for MINOR LEAGUE prospects we should go with what we have.

    Badger,

    I was thinking about your preference for a fixed line up and I can see your point. However I get the feeling that Torre is still looking for that line up. In addition, this line up has alot of player who can hit in different spots and there is also something to be said for shifting players around as they get hot or slump to keep the offense productive. Resting players also requires some adjustment as Pierre, Loretta, Castro and De Witt all have different offensive abilities than the guys they replace. Still I hope that by September Torre has settled on a stable line up with our regulars that we can take into the playoffs.

  28. Bill Russell says:

    Rodger, It does look like everyone is standing around waiting for Manny including Manny. Kemp, O Dog and Ethier were hot today. I am still hoping that O Dog is OK. Any word yet????

  29. Bill Russell says:

    edit by removing the d from Roger.

  30. Badger says:

    Bob, my only point was I think a mentality is developed with where you hit in the order. I broke it down into 3 groups, top of the order, middle of the order and bottom of the order. Sounds too simplistic I realize, but if you are a top of the order guy, you do small ball stuff. That requires a certain approach. Get on base, steal a base, get yourself into scoring position. 3-5 are your best pure hitters. These are the guys that drive the ball and knock runners in. 6-8 are your .250-.270 hitters trying to work on getting promoted to the upper part of the order. All of these approaches are different. You move a guy from one group to another, his whole mentality could change and bad habits might form. I wonder if that isn’t what has happened to Ethier. I like to show confidence in my players and allow them time to work out any issues. Of course, when certain players are taking a day off, you make necessary adjustments. And, it’s just my own coaching theory, nothing more.

    Houston looked sloppy in the replays I saw. Kemp looked pretty good.

    I had Loney and Ethier hitting around .300 this year. Maybe I had that one wrong? Sure would like to see some team thumping like we saw early in the year.

  31. Ken says:

    We will know how bad Hudson is really hurt when we see who is sent to the minors tommorrow for Schimdt.

  32. Mark Timmons says:

    O-Dog hasn’t played a complete season for a while…

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