Clayton Kershaw’s first complete game, a 1-0 four-hitter against the hated Giants on their home turf, should put the Ace of the Dodgers Staff Crown squarely upon Clayton’s head. In a season run amok, Clayton Kershaw has stepped up, and as Jon Weisman proclaimed a few weeks ago, “This is Clayton Kershaw’s Team.” Manny let the Dodgers down. So did Raffy. Russ, James, Andre and Matt all underperformed, but Clayton Kershaw has stepped up and seized the day. Make no mistake about it: It’s “Derek Jeter and the Yankees”, “Tim Lincecum and the Giants”, “Ryan Howard and the Phillies”, and it’s “Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers!”
Clayton Kershaw is officially anointed by me as the Dodgers’ Ace!
Other than my “pet whipping boy” Jon Broxton, the failure of the Dodgers to flourish this year has to be laid squarely upon the shoulders of the coaching staff, especially the hitting coaches, Jeff Pentland and Don Mattingly. Both are long-time baseball guys but whatever they are teaching, nobody is learning from it. No explanation needed. Results are all that count. Both are out the door at season’s end with Joe Torre…. at least they should be. The Dodgers can save $4+ million by letting Torre walk and replacing him with Wallach.
Most people on this board predicted that the Dodger starting pitching would be their undoing. That never came to pass. The Dodgers TOP THREE STARTERS are arguably as good as any trio in baseball. Consider this:
Roy Halladay has given up 22 HR. Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley have given up 21 HR… COMBINED!
Clayton Kershaw has pitched 192 Innings, allowed 152 Hits, struck out 201 while cutting his walks down to 77. He presently has a 2.85 ERA and sits with a 12-10 record. He should have 16-18 wins, but doesn’t, thanks to a lack support and Jon Broxton.
Hiroki Kuroda has a 10-12 record with a 3.32 ERA, also being a victim of the pen and lack of hitting. He has pitched 176 innings, allowed 162 hits, 13 HR and has struck out 142 while walking 45.
Chad Billingsley who is 11-9 with a 3.65 ERA, has pitched 165 innings, allowed 156 hits and struck out 136 while walking 63. He has only allowed 8 HR! He has re-established himself as a TOP Starter.
That’s darn good starting pitching. Who knew that our strating pitching would be our strength?
Look at this:
Pre All-Star Game:
Hitting – The Dodgers were 3rd in both Batting Average (.269) and Runs Scored (423) in the NL and averaged 4.8 Runs Per Game.
Pitching – Before the All-Star Game the Dodgers were 7th in the NL in ERA (4.09) and 7th in Runs Allowed. Their save percentage was 73% (not great) and their Team WHIP was 1.33. Their catchers caught 33% of the attempted base thieves.
Post All-Star Game:
Hitting – The Dodgers are 15th in Batting Average (.235) and tied for last in Runs Scored with the Mets at 183. That’s an average of less than 3.3 Runs Per Game. That is a total breakdown and it is worse than pitiful! It is unacceptable and heads must roll! Torre, Mattingly and Pentland must face the Guillotine!
Pitching – Since the All-Star Game the Dodgers pitching was 4th in ERA (3.70) to San Diego’s 3.44. The Dodgers were #1 in lowest Batting Average Allowed (.229) and tied for first with San Diego for lowest OB% with .304. The Dodgers also had the best Team WHIP at 1.22. Where they really stumbled was in saves, where they converted just 60% of them (compared to 90% for the Padres). The Dodgers also were the worst in the NL in catching runners at 19%.
The Starting Pitching has been wonderful, but the bullpen betrayed the Starters and the hitting was just abysmal! That’s the story of the season. You can feel free to blame McCourt, but I believe the blame falls squarely upon the coaching staff. You can’t fire all the players, but you can fire all the coaches and the manager, and the Dodgers should!
Final Question: Could it be that Rod Barajas is a better receiver than anyone else on the Dodgers?