An Ace: While no one on the Dodgers will say it publicly, Clayton Kershaw is morphing into that Ace the Dodger fans covet, probably sooner that most expected. As Tony Jackson of ESPN/LosAngeles points out, he is 6-1 with a 1.83 ERA in his last 8 starts and is pitching much deeper into games. He has allowed only 4 HR in 85 innings pitched – just one in the past six weeks. He did get off to a poor start this year and walked a lot of batters early in the season, but last night he showed how much better his command has become. Clayton threw 110 pitches last night, 79 of which were strikes. When you are actually at a game, you can see what the other hitters think about the guy on the mound – when the Reds hitters walked to the plate, they looked like a death-row inmate going to the execution chamber, and when they walked back to the dugout, they were muttering under their breath. The thing is, I have seen Clayton with a much better curve-ball than last night, but he has learned to work with what he has and he trusts whatever stuff he has. I still would like to see the Dodgers get another Ace, but the fact is, they already have one.
The Chip: This has to be the thing on Manny’s shoulder. He played last night with a vigor and a zeal I haven’t seen from him in quite a spell. Forget the laser shot to right center field that got out of Great American ballpark in about 3 nanoseconds – he can still do that. What impressed me is that he played a double off the wall into a single, and then threw the runner out at the plate when he tried to score from 2B on a slow single. Manny caught the ball and threw in one quick motion, unleashing a laser-like throw which probably never got more than 20 feet off the ground. I mean, I have watched Manny throw those “moon balls” back to the infield so many times that I had no clue he had a throw like that in him. Maybe it was the last one, but it was a good one.
Rants & Raves
- Ronald Belisario’s stuff is not nearly as devastating as last season. Kuo? His ball “pops” and moves like crazy.
- Raffy is playing like a much younger man.
- Travis Schlichting was recalled last night and probably could see action this afternoon if needed.
- Print the tickets: Claudio Vargas was re-signed by the Dodgers to a minor league deal.
- Andre Ethier gets all the ink, but James Loney is tied with him for the team RBI lead.
- The Reds are first in the NL in hitting, but the Dodgers are 2nd and they don’t play in a bandbox.
- The Dodgers are now 8th in the NL in pitching, and have moved from 15th to 12th in fielding.
- Even with DeWitt’s error last night, he is playing much better defense at 2B and looks very comfortable there. If he’d just show some power…
- Don’t look now, but Kyle Russell is making adjustments. See Jarod’s Minor League Report
- First Place! Some of you don’t know what to do – there’s nobody to bash today!