The Guile Of Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw

The Dodgers came off a shutout yesterday with Ryu pitching masterful. The offense struck with the long ball. Today Clayton Kershaw took on Anibal Sanchez, as the Dodgers seeked to go up 2-0 in the NLDS. So Kershaw who took a gut punch by not being named the Game 1 starter came out with the eye of the tiger. The Dodgers have the look of a team on a mission.

Ronald Acuna Jr started the game with a double. Right off the bat Kershaw was in trouble. But Kershaw was able to get out of the jam. Joc Pederson started the Dodger’s first inning with a double. Later in the inning on a 3-0 count, Manny Machado hit a two run shot and the Dodgers led 2-0.

Clayton Kershaw pretty much took over after the shaky first inning. He had command of his three pitches. He was working the corners and getting hitters to chase the breaking ball. He might not have the velocity he used to have but he uses his Guile. Kershaw has also made adjustments by not pitching a first pitch strike all the time. Kershaw is a once in a lifetime pitcher. He has been one of the great regular season pitchers of this generation. It is time to build up the post-season resume.

In the bottom of the 5th, Yasmani Grandal hit a rocket shot and the Dodgers took a 3-0 lead. The Braves never had a shot in this game as Kershaw kept his pitch count down and was on his A game.

Kershaw pitched 8 shutout innings and was a little ticked and came through. Kenley Jansen came in and pitched a scoreless ninth and the Dodgers will head to Atlanta on sunday night with Walker Buehler.

 

 

James Moya

James Moya

Hi I’m James Moya. I am an avid Dodgers fan. I graduated Cal State Fullerton with a Bachelors in Communications. I used to freelance at the San Bernardino Sun. I’m excited about this opportunity to write for LA Dodger Report to gain experience. I’m a straight shooter on my opinions and I hope to get some good conversations going. My dream has always been to report on the Dodgers because Baseball is the National Past-time. I hope you enjoy the ride with me.

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26 thoughts on “The Guile Of Kershaw

  1. A great start by Kershaw after having been less than stellar over several post season starts. After being knocked down by Roberts and given the #2 start by Roberts and the FO and Honeycutt he was not permitted to pitch the 9th inning to finish a complete game shutout. I know many of you will just say it was the thing to do because Jansen needed work but I feel Kershaw deserved a chance for that finish. Just another example of Roberts making a case for Roberts to do stuff that cannot be good for good team chemistry. I think he gets happy to punish Kershaw and he can do it because of Kershaw’s perceived decline. Welcome to Dodgerland.

  2. Not one bad thing to say about last nights game. They did what they had to do and Kershaw was masterful. Plus he was fired up. Atlanta is a good team, but not in the Dodgers league player wise. That was noted by the ever boring John Smoltz when Kershaw hit the pinch hitter Adams. He noted that the players on the Braves bench were a far cry from what the Dodgers could muster. Machado hits a dramatic homer and the squirrel found a nut. And win # 2 is in the bank. Lets hope the Rockies put up some kind of fight when they get home to Denver and give the Brewers a bad moment or two. Pack, I do not agree with you that pitching Kershaw in game 2 was a slap in the face to Kershaw. It made perfect sense because if you watched the rotation the last series in SF it was Ryu, Kersh and then Hill. It would have been Buehler, but they had clinched a post season spot. And Ryu has pitched better than anyone the last couple of months. He has the lowest ERA on the team. Besides, the idea is to win. And since it all worked out, Kersh had an excellent game and the Dodgers are up 2-0, why cry over it? If Kershaw accepted it, and he did, we fans can do nothing less.

  3. Not to be outdone by Ryu, Kershaw had something to prove. And prove he did. Other than a first pitch leadoff double, he turns in a masterful 8 inning shutout to show the doubters that he is still the Ace of the staff. Jansen had fans sitting on he edge of their seats, as he surrenders a out out single. Defensive indifference puts the runner on 3rd, with one out. Kenley manages to escape with no runs and a save.

    Back to back shutouts.

    DR splits up the disastrous middle of the lineup of yesterday, and “The Smirk” and Grandal deliver. Finally, “Smirk” does something productive offensively. We can only hope that this is a sign of things to come. With Grandal, it is either feast or famine.

    Puiggy the Wild Horse was in prime form tonight. Loosey Goosey shenanigans on the base path. I would not be surprised if DR benches him Sunday, after all there is a double standard on this team. And we also know that Puiggy is one does not get special treatment.

    Two down and one to go for a sweep of the Brave ones.

    1. He won’t get benched. Roberts pulled him aside during the game and gave him quite a lecture. And in the playoffs you are not removing your best outfielder. The pitcher going for Atlanta tomorrow is a former team mate of Machado’s. Lets see how he does with a scouting report.

      1. Michael,

        With the change by ATL to use a left handed pitcher for today’s game, Puig will probably sit, and not just because of the notorious Lefty Lineup.

        DR was still openly disturbed about Puig’s antics, and said he intends to start a slighty tweaked lefty lineup. A convenient way to allow him to impose the benching of Puig. It would have been interesting to see where Puig would be if ATL had stuck with their intended right-hander. I guess ATL is in desperation mode, and as a last resort, will try to take advantage of the Dodgers’ Achilles Heal.

        Regardless. This Puig benching only proves that a Double Standard does exist, with regards to punishment for lackadaisical, irresponsible play. “The Smirk” did not even get a slap on the hand for his antics.

        1. Yeah, I read that last night. I agree with it. Puig like Dave says gets excitable at times and lets the game get away from him. But I still cannot fathom why he sits Kemp against RHP when he also hits them better than he does lefty’s.

  4. I, as many of you, have had a love affair with baseball since my youth. When the Dodgers moved to LA I was 10. I had been playing variations of the game like over the line since I was 8. At 10, I did not even have a baseball glove yet. I was placed in a home for kids in Highland Park and that is where the real exposure to the game came. Our house parents were Brooklyn natives. They had pictures from trips to Vero Beach to see spring training. Most of these pics were from the late 30’s and the 40’s. Guys like Dolph Camilli and Arky Vaughn. Pee Wee, Leo and Babe Herman. Mr. Howell, he really reminded me of William Frawley from I Love Lucy. Same build, same type of personality. But what a baseball fan. He loved the Dodgers. At Christmas in 1958 I got my first glove. It was a first baseman’s mitt. Spaulding. I played every chance I got, and since it was California, we played in the winter too. I only played 1 year of little league ball. I was the first kid the home had allowed to do that. Played on a team called the Yankees. We were all sponsored by 7-UP. No real baseball jersey’s, just the T-shirts with Yankees in block letters on the front and a huge 7-UP logo on the back. We played a 9 game schedule and were in a playoff game. We went 8-1-1. There were no fences where we played so if you hit a homer, you had to run for it. The one tie was a 5-5 game. We beat a team 22-0, but also won a 1-0 game, and one game our pitchers threw a perfect game. Was heady stuff for a kid like me. Most of the guys on the team could hit. I played 1st, because I am a lefty, most of the time, but I also played a few innings in the outfield. I could always hit, and batted .714. 15 for 21. Only 1 homer, and that was a ground ball that no one touched. I struck out twice. It was a great time in my life, and until I played high school ball, the only organized games I ever played. That was where I first went to the coliseum to see the Dodgers. Sat behind the net one time. Totally different perspective from there as opposed to the knot hole seats in right. I could have reached out and shook Wally Moons hand. I love the game as much now as I did then. Have seen the Dodgers go all the way 5 times. Have seen them lose and seen them win. Seen them when they were good and when they were awful. Now it is a different kind of game. The approach is different, even though the goal is the same. A lot of stats they quote today, I do not understand, nor do I want to understand. I watch the player on the field and how he goes about his business. I do not care if a catcher steals strikes with pitch framing. I look at the end result, add it all up and no matter what stats you quote it is either a W or an L. The names on the back change every year. That makes it hard for a fan to get really attached to a player unless he spend a significant amount of time in the organization. It is amazing to think how many fans forked out well over 100 bucks to get a Machado jersey. Next year, he will not even be here! So for me, it is about the name on the front only now. I like some players, but I no longer have a favorite. My favorites retired a long time ago. And my favorites have plaques in Cooperstown based mostly on what they did as Dodgers. Kersh will probably end up there based on his numbers in LA, and I would hope he ends his career in blue. But is it likely? Who knows. The dynamics of the game have changed and I can honestly say, that I liked the old way a lot better. But that’s a personal preference . But I will always be a Dodger fan. No matter where I live, or who is playing for them. Some I have disliked, and in my eyes they gave me a good reason to be disliked either by their performance or their attitude. But they probably gave me some good moments too. Grandal is an example. I cannot put my finger on why I can’t stand him, except a lot of it is because he goes in the tank so much and is so streaky. I also think he is not a great game caller. His defense has improved somewhat this year, and he hit right at .240, which for him is a improvement. But he has had his moments like the ball he crushed last night. But to me, he will never equal the kind of player that Roseboro was. Or Steve Yeager and neither one of those guys were half the hitter Grandal can be at times. But what they were was Dodgers. Through and through. I always have felt that Grandal is an interloper. That might seem weird, but it is true. I guess I have always leaned towards the home grown players. Guys who were traded here take a lot longer to get used to. Unless like Turner, they totally remake themselves. Does not happen very often, but when it does it is a lot of fun to watch. Lets hope this playoff run is a long one and ends up with a win in the series.

  5. Agree Michael.

    Sitting Kemp all these games really surprises me, but then it doesn’t.

    The outfield is just too crowded, and with Kiké, Funky Muncy, and Pederson doing so well there is just no where to put him. Even CT3 has been squeezed out of playing time. If Kemp does play, it could be today, “If” my theory holds true, and Puig is benched.

    On the other hand, it seems DR is saving him for late inning dagger off the bench. With the way the pitching has been, the offense scoring runs, and ATL bellyflopping, they have had no need to use Kemp as a Pinch-hitter or Double switch. Also, I feel they are reluctant to play him, so he will not do well, and then the Dodgers could not trade (dump) him at season’s end. I just do not think the FO intends to keep Kemp. If he does well, they will be pressured to keep him next year.

    1. Bluefan
      I agree with you that Kemp is not playing because the Dodgers want to move him in the off season. They definitely do not want him to get hot. His numbers are already better than Pederson and others yet he does not play. Your theory has to be right. They already will have a problem trading him because of his money so they hurt him by not playing him. Exactly what I have been saying the last 6 weeks. I blame Roberts but no one else does so it has to be the FO.

      1. Package and Bluto,

        I say it is the FO. Any Manager who has a potential game changer on his team, it would be a no brainer, and he will play him.

        Roberts is a good (not great yet) Manager. He is too new to be able to stand up to FO, and in these early years, he will continue to follow the marching orders of the Bosses until such time he is a “great” Manager, and can confidently stand on his own two feet without fear of losing his job. If FO is dumb enough to fire him at that time in his career, another team will pick him up. It would be the Dodgers’ loss, not his.

          1. Well Blotto, what is your theory as to why the guy who led the team in batting average and RBI’s has been on the bench so much the last 14 days? I am willing to listen to any suggestion as to why Kemp has been sitting. He was not in a slump, he had a couple of key pinch hits, got his 20th and 21st homers. Has been decent in the outfield and yet Pederson, who had been slumping for about 10 days got both of the starts in the first 2 games when Kemp, hits over .300 against RHP and Pederson right at .260. The only real difference is Pederson has 24 homers against RHP and Kemp 11. And even with those 24 homers, Kemp has more RBI’s against righty’s than Joc. If there was a huge discrepancy between the 2, I could understand it. Kemp has a higher OBP and less K’s against RH. To me, you do not have a logical reason for sitting Kemp. And by the way, them not really wanting to keep Matt was common knowledge, so no great revelation there….sorry…

          2. Hi Michael,

            I wasn’t claiming to have a revelation about the team wanting to get rid of Kemp. Where did I say I was?!!?!?

            Here’s my thinking, and I may have this wrong.
            1st Half: OPS+ 139
            2nd Half OPS+ 97

            100 is MLB average.

            Perhaps the team thought it could do better in the 2nd half?

          3. Bluto, that OPS is probably affected by the slump he went into right after the all star game. But he had been hitting a lot better in September when he did get the starts. And other than the lead off homers that Pederson has put up, he is not that superior to Kemp. Pederson has cut down his K rate this year, but he also was not that hot the last few weeks. So I say again, there is no logical reason to play Pederson over Kemp.

          4. Yeah, that’s just not the case Michael.

            Year round WAR:
            1.6 Kemp
            2.7 Pederson.

            You yourself admit that Kemp slumped the 2nd half. Imagine how bad his WAR must have been for that 2nd half.

          5. I care less what the years WAR is. I do not give two hoots in hell about WAR, neither defensive nor offensive. Kemp led the team in batting average and RBI’s. Pederson hovered around .240 all year. No way that guy is a better option than Kemp. I care about the guy who for almost all year has had the best batting average with runners in scoring position on the entire team. Pederson’s BA with RISP is .217. Kemp is hitting .329 in that position. Even a total saber metric lover like you can see Pederson is not the best option.

          6. I know you:

            Value BA over WAR.

            Sadly, for you, the Front Office, manager and all of Major League Baseball feel to the contrary.

            The wRISP stat is a great one, and that’s why Kemp still had a role. Albeit, not the kind of role you’d (or Package and that other guy) prefer.

            I do bet however, if every player was guaranteed to come up with runners in scoring position, then Kemp would play ahead of Pederson.

          7. What I value Bluto is the way the game was played, not the way or the stats the FO manager or anyone else thinks now. The make up these dumb ass stat to make themselves look smart and have changed the game I am sorry to say for the worse. Morons like the front office no longer think of strikeouts as a bad thing. They value things that really have no value. I like stats I can see not some phantom stat some geek thought up in a water closet years ago. My game was better than this crap. You and your kind might like watching guys like Bellinger and Pederson flailing at pitches they could not hit with a 10 foot pole. I like hitter, pure hitters, guys who can go up there drive in runs and hit for average whether the stat geeks agree or not. Batting average means something. Otherwise guys like Cobb and Hornsby were not worth their salt as players. You want to watch guys strikeout and flail away, good for you.

        1. Bluefan
          What I do not understand is that if Roberts is a good manager, and not convince his FO as to what is the best way to handle something in a baseball way and not do it makes him a bad manager in my humble opinion. It is the old saying that if you have a problem and do not correct the problem, you become the problem. I know everyone thinks I just say Roberts is no good to be saying it but there are very definite reasons that I feel harsh towards Roberts..One of them is most definitely not playing Kemp.
          To suggest that Roberts will become great when he cannot run the team like a true manager now does not add up. Understand, I am not running you down in any way and I respect your opinion but I disagree. Most of the team assembled are parts of the Colletti regime not FAZ and have been for the past 5 years. Roberts gets no credit for them and FAZ very little in my opinion.

          1. Package, there are no real true managers in baseball anymore except maybe Bochy who does things his way in SF. Most teams have adopted the saber metric game. And most of the guys who have jobs today kowtow to what management wants. Definitely the case here in LA. Showalter is out in Baltimore. He was another one who did things his way and it got him fired. The other thing my friend is that the Dodger roster as it stands today is mostly made up of FAZ acqusistions. Bullpen, Alexander, Floro, Wood, Ferguson, Madson and Maeda all by FAZ. Grandal, Freese, Dozier, Taylor, Machado, Muncy, and Kemp, all FAZ. Buehler, Hill, FAZ too. so 14 of the 25 are FAZ pick ups. Kemp is technically from the prior regime, but he was traded away and then reacquired. The team still has a lot of Coletti’s players, but no longer bears most of it’s influence from that regime. Times they are a changing. I understand your frustration and the feeling to get that Kemp is being disrespected by Roberts, but in reality my friend, you have no proof that this is true. I get frustrated because I know Matt is a better player than Pederson by a long shot, and when he was playing regularly, he was doing great. He had a slump right after the all star break, and actually had been hitting a lot better toward the end of August.

          2. Kemp in the lineup hitting 5th tonight. Taylor LF, Turner 3B, Freese 1B, Machado SS, Kemp RF, Bellinger CF, Hernandez 2B, Grandal C, Buehler P. Not the all RH lineup, Puig sits.

  6. With a lefty going the faulty thinking that an all RH hitting lineup is better will be there again. Muncy hits lefty’s better than RH, but is a defensive liability if he plays anywhere but 1st and he is not great there. So Freese will get the start today since he does crush lefty’s. Kike is better against RH pitching this year, but with a lefty going, Dozier will be in there for his defense. Partly because of his base running gaff in game 2, Puig will sit and Kemp will be in right. The Dodgers have been better against lefty’s since they traded for Machado and Turner came off the DL. Their biggest problem is still getting hits with men in scoring position. They improve that, they can beat anyone. Prediction, Kemp will be moved one way or the other this offseason, Toles will be moved, and Grandal will not be re-signed.

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