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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Clayton Kershaw Will Never Get Over It

How can this keep happening? How can Clayton Kershaw, who even if he is no longer quite Clayton Kershaw is still Clayton Kershaw, keep going to pieces in October? Could it just be some Powerball-odds-level run of bad luck, with no greater cause? After all, every pitcher has bad days, and maybe one of them just happens to have his bad days in fall after fall. Or could it be something genuinely pathological but eminently understandable, a weakness for pressure? That doesn’t make a ton of sense, given that pitching is by definition a pressure situation and Kershaw’s one of the best ever to take the mound in this sport’s history, but logic clearly has very little to do with it. Or maybe it—the streak, the curse, the choke, whatever—is its own cause: Maybe some early-career fluky blow-ups led Kershaw to be hyperaware of his own postseason performance and overcompensate, overthink, overthrow, a sort of autumnal yips.

Kershaw had no answers after the game, because if there were answers there’d be a solution, and if there were a solution he would have found it by now, and if he’d found the solution there’d be no more questions to which he didn’t have answers. Instead he was existentially bereft, openly wondering if he’d ever get over this—“this” being the latest collapse but also, everything.

“I’ve had to do it so much,” Kershaw said. “I don’t know. It might linger for a while. I might not get over it. I don’t know.”

Bourbon Samurai stays in the fight Posted: October 10, 2019 at 11:27 AM | 81 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodgers, nationals, postseason

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   1. Traderdave Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:01 PM (#5888858)
I don't normally shed tears for wildly successful, plutocratically wealthy people who are on the GOAT short list. But I genuinely feel badly for Clayton Kershaw.
   2. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:08 PM (#5888870)
Assuming bi-monthly payments over six months, Clayton will wake up on Tuesday morning to a direct deposit of about $1.7 million dollars, so he'll be ok.
   3. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:11 PM (#5888875)
We probably should also talk about all the ways Roberts totally ###### up this game.

The biggest and most obvious mistake was Joe Kelly for a 2nd inning (and maybe even the first inning even though that worked out ok for him). I've seen some places say Maeda should have pitched instead of Kershaw, but even if Kershaw isn't KERSHAW anymore he's still better than Maeda, right? Jansen wasn't JANSEN this year, but also he's still better than Kelly.

He probably should have double switched in Maeda, even after already double switching in Kershaw but that was a harder call.

Plenty of the Dodgers hitters were also awful this series, most notably Bellinger (is he starting to earn a postseason rep too?).
   4. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:14 PM (#5888880)
It's been a long time since, watching sports, I have felt so viscerally sad as I did last night, watching the shade of Clayton Kershaw walking in a daze back to the dugout after blowing the game. He used to be Clayton Kershaw, I thought, and maybe he was thinking similar things.

Roberts did manage the game (and series) poorly, and I won't be surprised if he is fired in the next day or two.

The TV crew, of course, kept showing Kershaw in the dugout over and over for the rest of the ill-fated game. He looked like a man who's just decided to retire. (Of course, a few of those $1.7 million direct deposits will probably buck up his spirits in that regard.)
   5. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:14 PM (#5888882)
It's really unfortunate for Kershaw because just keeps happening to him, but Rendon and Soto deserve some props here. It's hard to see Kershaw as a choker when he got such a big strikeout to end the 7th. Maybe the homers were just some great at-bats by two great hitters?

On the other hand, this keeps happening to Kershaw. I do actually feel bad for him.
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:16 PM (#5888885)
Two solo homers isn't really much of a "choke". That's just 2019 baseball.
   7. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:17 PM (#5888888)
Two solo homers isn't really much of a "choke". That's just 2019 baseball.


The second one was a no-doubter; the first one was a 2019 home run.

So was Kendrick's grand slam. When that ball left the bat, headed to nearly dead center, I nodded and said, "That'll get a run in, good job by him." And the 2019 rocketball kept carrying... and carrying... and carrying...
   8. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:21 PM (#5888895)
Two solo homers isn't really much of a "choke". That's just 2019 baseball.

Maybe not?

Rob Arthur @No_Little_Plans

Air resistance in the playoffs has shot up to the highest level since 2016, causing fewer homers. Multiple lines of evidence suggest that the postseason baseball is totally different than the one used in the regular season. https://baseballprospectus.com/news/article/54306/moonshot-the-rocket-ball-has-disappeared-in-october/

Rob Arthur @No_Little_Plans

This is data coming from MLB's own pitch tracking system, and I confirmed it by looking at how many homers you would expect to see based on exit velocity+launch angle+park effects. There have been about *50%* fewer home runs than expected.


I agree with Zeth the Rendon one was closer to what we saw a bunch of this year, Soto's was a HR any year and thus feels more like a "choke" or playoff Kershaw. OTOH, Smith's flyout in the 9th was the type of ball that seems like it always went out this year - and both he and his teammates thought so too.
   9. Lest we forget Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:22 PM (#5888897)
"direct deposit of about $1.7 million dollars, so he'll be ok"

It's not always about the money. I mean, c'mon. Some things hurt.
   10. jmurph Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:24 PM (#5888899)
Has anyone run the numbers, or is there even a smart way to do so, on starters as relievers in the postseason? I'm certain it's confirmation bias but it sure feels like it backfires an awful lot.* Then again, Boston used it quite successfully last year.

*Though I guess pitching in general, starter or not, tends to backfire an awful lot, so there's that.
   11. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:26 PM (#5888901)
even if Kershaw isn't KERSHAW anymore
I dunno, they're still using all caps on the back of his jersey.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:28 PM (#5888905)
It's not always about the money. I mean, c'mon. Some things hurt.

If his kid had caner, or his wife left him, or his dog dies, I'd feel bad for him, regardless of how rich he is.

But this is purely career success, and his career has been wildly successful. He's sailing into the HoF and is guaranteed to make over $250M in his career.

I think most postseason heroes would trade their heroics for Kershaw's suffering.
   13. jmurph Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:29 PM (#5888907)
Are we doing campaign speeches to replace Ray or something?
   14. Traderdave Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:51 PM (#5888931)
Ray is sui generis, there is no replacing him.
   15. Blastin Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:53 PM (#5888933)
Nope, I really do feel for Kershaw.

And yes, the balls actually are a bit different this week. Hell, for all snapper's ONLY HOMERS SCORE NOW, the Cardinals hit zero in scoring ten runs that inning.

But Soto hit the ball 450 feet. That has nothing to do with 2019. That was a terrible pitch.
   16. michaelplank has knowledgeable eyes Posted: October 10, 2019 at 01:07 PM (#5888940)
Roberts set it up for Kershaw to pitch to Soto in a big spot. He made a bad pitch to a good/great hitter who hit it a long way. Zero problem with Roberts regarding that sequence. The rest is fair game.

Also, the Dodgers failed to score after the second inning. Credit the Nats / blame the Dodgers, I don't know in what proportion.
   17. pikepredator Posted: October 10, 2019 at 01:09 PM (#5888942)
Of course it's going to hurt. Being a pro ballplayer is a dream I had as a kid; becoming a pro and making tens of millions wouldn't in any way mitigate the absolute devastation I would experience from a failure as spectacular as last night - particularly in the context of his career. If anything, it would heighten it. I didn't pretend I won the Cy Young in my backyard . . . I didn't give HOF induction speeches. I pretended I won the WS.

There are lots of reason people suffer and feel pain. Just because Kershaw has made millions playing a children's game for our pleasure doesn't mean I have to right to diminish or dismiss the crushing loss he's feeling. Whenever people start playing the comparison game of "that's not pain; THIS is pain" it devolves into a situation where only a few have the "right" to suffer. I for one don't feel the need to ration my compassion or empathy.

All in all I might well prefer to be Dave Henderson than Clayton Kershaw.
   18. Bote Man Posted: October 10, 2019 at 01:12 PM (#5888946)
Alfonso Marquez was most definitely providing a generous strike zone at least one ball's width outside to RHB last night which was borrowed from the inside edge, at least when Nats pitchers were on the mound; I didn't notice what Buehler was getting. Marquez seemed to tighten things up a bit in the late innings, but that's just anecdotal for me at the moment. It would seem that pitchers of either stripe could use that to their advantage by avoiding the red zone to avoid getting taken to the woodshed.

Anyway, Seager went down and golfed a nice low changeup from Strasburg into CF, that was a legit hit; a Nats tweeter suggested that Stras was tipping his pitches the way it was suspected in an infamous game in Arizona. And Soto and Rendon are both unquestionably good hitters so, yes, props to them for executing at a crucial moment.

The Dodgers won 106 games in the grueling 162-game season, so I see that as the major accomplishment. The playoffs are...how you say...?
   19. Davo Posted: October 10, 2019 at 01:13 PM (#5888947)
Clayton will wake up on Tuesday morning to a direct deposit of about $1.7 million dollars, so he'll be ok.

All anyone cares about is wealth. Matters of the spirit are irrelevant. Great post!
   20. Esoteric Posted: October 10, 2019 at 01:15 PM (#5888951)
Yeah, I'm with the people who say that it doesn't matter how much money you make, this is going to sting. It is going to be part of Kershaw's reputation forever, unless something incredible happens next year: the all-time great regular season pitcher who wasn't just mediocre, but was spectacularly, indelibly, Hollywood-fiery-explosion terrible in the postseason when it mattered most. (His closing out of the Nats in 2017 will be forgotten in this narrative, of course...that's how narratives go). And that sucks.

As a Nats fan, I can't say I minded even one bit that we added an extra piece to the "Kershaw folds like origami in the postseason" narrative. But how can you not feel for the guy?
   21. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 10, 2019 at 01:24 PM (#5888957)
The biggest and most obvious mistake was Joe Kelly for a 2nd inning (and maybe even the first inning even though that worked out ok for him).
There’s an awful lot of criticism in this space of mangers removing pitchers throwing well after only brief outings, so any of those folks here should be OK with bringing back Kelly for a 2nd inning. Kelly had only thrown 10 pitches in the 9th and looked good, so starting the 10th with him is OK by me. However, once he walks Eaton, a change was probably in order - certainly after Rendon doubles.

As for Kershaw, the pitch to Rendon wasn’t that bad - at least 4” below the strike zone - Rendon deserves some credit for getting it. It wasn’t a good pitch to Soto, but he’s made a lot of left-handers look bad.

Roberts didn’t want to say it, but it seemed obvious that his lack of confidence in Jansen led to his other moves.
   22. Bourbon Samurai stays in the fight Posted: October 10, 2019 at 01:25 PM (#5888958)
The pathos of great athletes succeeding or failing is the whole point of sports. I felt bad for Kershaw and I was rooting against him!

The Rendon hit was just a real nice swing from a good hitter.

The pitch to Soto was a meatball.

The thing that had me shaking my head was Kelly staying in to pitch to Kendrick. Everything up to that point made sense to me, he'd been just lights out the last inning.
   23. Davo Posted: October 10, 2019 at 01:32 PM (#5888959)
The thing that had me shaking my head was Kelly staying in to pitch to Kendrick.

Bases loaded, no outs, tie game, you need a ground ball.

Out of the 341 guys who pitched 50 innings this year, Joe Kelly had the 6th highest ground ball rate (61%). Kenley Jansen had the....319th highest (32%).
   24. The Mighty Quintana Posted: October 10, 2019 at 01:32 PM (#5888961)
Soto's swing on that homer was reminiscent of a young....Bryce Harper!
   25. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 10, 2019 at 01:33 PM (#5888962)
The thing that had me shaking my head was Kelly staying in to pitch to Kendrick. Everything up to that point made sense to me, he'd been just lights out the last inning.
I haven’t checked the stats, but the rationale reportedly was that Rodriguez’s ground ball tendencies matched up well with Kendrick’s propensity for hitting ground balls, giving the Dodgers their best shot at a double play. That logic seems to ignore how Rodriguez was actually pitching in the 10th.
   26. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: October 10, 2019 at 01:45 PM (#5888970)
Roberts did manage the game (and series) poorly, and I won't be surprised if he is fired in the next day or two.

Before this series I did not think there was something Roberts could do to get himself fired, but his handling of the pitching was unbelievable. Friedman must have been pulling his hair out last night.
   27. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: October 10, 2019 at 01:48 PM (#5888972)
Soto's swing on that homer was reminiscent of a young....Bryce Harper!

Who?
   28. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 10, 2019 at 02:04 PM (#5888981)
Roberts did manage the game (and series) poorly, and I won't be surprised if he is fired in the next day or two.
Roberts signed a 4-year extension last December, so he’s under contract through the 2022 season. The Dodgers could certainly afford to eat the money, but firing Roberts seems rather panicky.
   29. KronicFatigue Posted: October 10, 2019 at 02:28 PM (#5888990)
"direct deposit of about $1.7 million dollars, so he'll be ok"


Is there a certain amount of money where a player should stop trying his hardest? How would people feel if an elite talent made a ton of money by say 32 and said "I'm really happy with my career and bank account, so I'm going to ease up a bit going forward". As long as he did that before signing that final contract, that would be fine, right?

Does a player have a moral obligation to come back from a brutal injury even if they've made a certain amount of money in their career? Was David Wright stupid for working so hard and enduring so much pain just to get back on the field for a week?

I lean towards "money makes everything okay" but I'm not the type A personality that has the drive to be a major leaguer. Most are just wired differently. This will sting for Kershaw for a variety of reasons. Ego, letting his teammates down, his legacy, blah blah blah. If we try to wave away those issues with his paycheck, then we need to start evaluating many other decisions by athletes based on their finances.
   30. Eric L Posted: October 10, 2019 at 02:29 PM (#5888991)
Many people in this group act as if pride isn’t a thing and that only money matters. They have said more about theirselves than anything else.
   31. jmurph Posted: October 10, 2019 at 02:34 PM (#5888993)
Many people in this group act as if pride isn’t a thing and that only money matters. They have said more about theirselves than anything else.

Agree with the main point, but I don't actually think it's very many people here, they just post a lot.
   32. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 10, 2019 at 02:36 PM (#5888995)
I haven’t checked the stats, but the rationale reportedly was that Rodriguez’s ground ball tendencies matched up well with Kendrick’s propensity for hitting ground balls, giving the Dodgers their best shot at a double play. That logic seems to ignore how Rodriguez was actually pitching in the 10th.
I meant Kelly there. Conflating him with Rodriguez must be related to their time together with the Red Sox, coupled with my brain fart. Maybe that was Roberts problem - he thought he’d already brought in someone else?
   33. Bourbon Samurai stays in the fight Posted: October 10, 2019 at 02:41 PM (#5888998)
Out of the 341 guys who pitched 50 innings this year, Joe Kelly had the 6th highest ground ball rate (61%).


What was his ground ball rate when he was pitching his second inning and had just given up a walk and a screaming line drive?

I mean, I get the analytics, but he did not look like a man who planned on getting out of that situation
   34. vortex of dissipation Posted: October 10, 2019 at 02:56 PM (#5889005)
Whenever the camera went to Kershaw sitting alone in the dugout, my eye went to the two patches on his sleeve - one saying "MLB postseason", and the other one honoring the late Dodgers pitcher Don Newcombe - and I thought of Newcombe's career 0-4, 8.59 ERA postseason record...
   35. The Duke Posted: October 10, 2019 at 02:56 PM (#5889006)
This and several other comebacks are the reason I applaud Shildt for keeping flaherty in the game. The Nats scored 6 runs in the blink of an eye. You don’t get. It’s I. The playoffs as Shildt so brilliantly opined in his (almost as good as Lee Elia) livestream after the game
   36. salvomania Posted: October 10, 2019 at 03:11 PM (#5889017)
but even if Kershaw isn't KERSHAW anymore he's still better than Maeda, right?

Maybe not... Maeda moved to the pen in September, and over his last 13 appearances (including 4 in the NLDS) covering 16.1 ip, he's held the opposition scoreless in 12 of them, and *hitless* in 9 of them; he's allowed just 10 baserunners while striking out 22.

Kershaw, meanwhile, has now appeared in 16 postseason series, and has an ERA of 5.68 or higher in 7 of them, and over 4.00 in another three.
   37. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: October 10, 2019 at 03:18 PM (#5889024)
Roberts signed a 4-year extension last December, so he’s under contract through the 2022 season. The Dodgers could certainly afford to eat the money, but firing Roberts seems rather panicky.

Roberts has done a nearly flawless job with the clubhouse, but has had a series of pitching fiascos in the playoffs. It isn't likely that Roberts is fired, but his seat is now going to be pretty hot going into next year.

It will be pretty interesting to see what Friedman does in the offseason. The roster is loaded with young talent and the Dodgers will probably be favorites in the NL again. Will they be content with that and tinker around the edges or will they target one or more of the big fish? They are somewhere around $55-60 million under the $208 million luxury cap number (depending on arbitration) so there is a ton of flexibility there.
   38. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 10, 2019 at 03:20 PM (#5889026)
Maybe not... Maeda moved to the pen in September, and over his last 13 appearances (including 4 in the NLDS) covering 16.1 ip, he's held the opposition scoreless in 12 of them, and *hitless* in 9 of them; he's allowed just 10 baserunners while striking out 22.

Kershaw, meanwhile, has now appeared in 16 postseason series, and has an ERA of 5.68 or higher in 7 of them, and over 4.00 in another three.


I'm not gonna say you're wrong, but you couldn't cherry pick that any worse if you tried.
   39. Davo Posted: October 10, 2019 at 03:24 PM (#5889030)
I also think it’s between possible and likely that we’re crediting Roberts for bad decisions that were in fact made by the front office. If they say “no, the data says it has to be Kelly in the 10th” there’s not much he can do about that.
   40. SandyRiver Posted: October 10, 2019 at 03:26 PM (#5889031)
There’s an awful lot of criticism in this space of mangers removing pitchers throwing well after only brief outings, so any of those folks here should be OK with bringing back Kelly for a 2nd inning. Kelly had only thrown 10 pitches in the 9th and looked good,

Except for Red Sox fans, who witnessed many 2nd-inning dumpster fires from Mr. Kelly. He'd keep the speed but lose the location, and BAM!
   41. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: October 10, 2019 at 03:32 PM (#5889037)
I also think it’s between possible and likely that we’re crediting Roberts for bad decisions that were in fact made by the front office. If they say “no, the data says it has to be Kelly in the 10th” there’s not much he can do about that.

Considering that Roberts said that he was going with his gut and not the "data" that seems unlikely. Also, almost all of his decisions appeared to go against the "data".
   42. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 10, 2019 at 03:35 PM (#5889039)
Kelly was arguable the least valuable pitcher on the playoff roster. Even if he throws a great inning, that doesn't mean he's ready to do it again. They should have been grateful for that shutout inning, and moved on.
   43. Nasty Nate Posted: October 10, 2019 at 03:42 PM (#5889042)
Except for Red Sox fans, who witnessed many 2nd-inning dumpster fires from Mr. Kelly. He'd keep the speed but lose the location, and BAM!
His last multi-inning outing with the Sox also hurt the Dodgers!
   44. JL72 Posted: October 10, 2019 at 03:45 PM (#5889044)
here’s an awful lot of criticism in this space of mangers removing pitchers throwing well after only brief outings, so any of those folks here should be OK with bringing back Kelly for a 2nd inning. Kelly had only thrown 10 pitches in the 9th and looked good, so starting the 10th with him is OK by me.


Kelly has some unknown injury, and apparently had his return appearance pushed back to the last game of the season. He had not pitched a second inning since August 24. He also was not good in Game 3 (but was effective in Game 1).

So while I understand that he had done well in the 9th, bringing him back in the 10th was not without real risk.
   45. Bote Man Posted: October 10, 2019 at 03:46 PM (#5889045)
But how can you not feel for the guy?

Jack: Because I don't think about it.

Jon: Well, that's living in denial.

Jack: I'm aware of that.

Jon: So, you're aware of all your behavior and yet you continue to do things that aren't good for you. That sounds a little foolish, don't you think so, Jack?
   46. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 10, 2019 at 03:49 PM (#5889046)
Many people in this group act as if pride isn’t a thing and that only money matters. They have said more about theirselves than anything else.


Pride is definitely a thing, and Kershaw has everything to be proud of. He's a freaking HoFer. The most dominant pitcher of his generation. This will sting for little bit, and then he'll get over it.

When he's standing on the stage at Cooperstown no one is going to give two shits about his post-season performance except a few bitter ankle-biters. He should just laugh at them.

   47. JAHV Posted: October 10, 2019 at 03:56 PM (#5889051)
I'm an Angels fan who I guess is supposed to hate the Dodgers, but I've always liked Kershaw. Even as I was really excited and happy for Howie Kendrick (and will be rooting hard for him and the Nats going forward), I am bummed for Kershaw. He's been so incredible in the regular season - I don't want him to be remembered for a few postseason meltdowns.

   48. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 10, 2019 at 03:59 PM (#5889052)
I am bummed for Kershaw. He's been so incredible in the regular season - I don't want him to be remembered for a few postseason meltdowns.


He won't be. Prior to post 34, did you know Bob Newcombe had a terrible post-season record?
   49. The Duke Posted: October 10, 2019 at 04:07 PM (#5889055)
The kelly angst seems overblown. He had a good 9th, was still on his first time through order. I would have brought Jansen in for Kendrick though. Don’t understand bases loaded nobody out tie game in the 10th and not bringing in your closer. But starting the 10th - that made sense to me.
   50. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 10, 2019 at 04:13 PM (#5889056)
The kelly angst seems overblown. He had a good 9th, was still on his first time through order. I would have brought Jansen in for Kendrick though. Don’t understand bases loaded nobody out tie game in the 10th and not bringing in your closer. But starting the 10th - that made sense to me.

You'd rather the inferior pitcher face the better hitters (Eaton, Rendon, Soto)?
   51. Kurt Posted: October 10, 2019 at 04:14 PM (#5889057)
He won't be. Prior to post 34, did you know Bob Newcombe had a terrible post-season record?


Newcombe pitched 22 innings in the postseason, before there was social media or the internet or talk radio or Around the Horn-type shows. Not really the same thing.
   52. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 10, 2019 at 04:15 PM (#5889059)
Newcombe pitched 22 innings in the postseason, before there was social media or the internet or talk radio or Around the Horn-type shows. Not really the same thing.

22 World Series innings when the whole country was paying attention to the World Series.
   53. Tin Angel Posted: October 10, 2019 at 04:22 PM (#5889066)
Even if he throws a great inning, that doesn't mean he's ready to do it again. They should have been grateful for that shutout inning, and moved on.


And if Jansen comes in and ##### it up, everyone is saying "Kelly pitched great, why didn't Roberts let him go another inning?"
   54. Kurt Posted: October 10, 2019 at 04:23 PM (#5889067)
And Kershaw is on the (very) short list of best pitchers of his generation! Newcombe was what, Brad Radke? Come on.
   55. salvomania Posted: October 10, 2019 at 04:26 PM (#5889068)
I'm not gonna say you're wrong, but you couldn't cherry pick that any worse if you tried.

It's an art.
   56. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 10, 2019 at 04:31 PM (#5889070)
He won't be. Prior to post 34, did you know Bob Newcombe had a terrible post-season record?

Bob? :)
   57. salvomania Posted: October 10, 2019 at 04:32 PM (#5889071)
Bob? :)

I think he's confusing him with the comedian, Don Newhart.
   58. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 10, 2019 at 04:37 PM (#5889074)
Also, Kershaw is 9-11 with a 4.43 ERA in the postseason. That's a lot worse than his regular season numbers, but it's not like he's Byung-Hyun Kim out there.

That being said, I still feel bad for him. You don't typically get to be as good as Kershaw without being intensely competitive and hating to lose. Doing so in the postseason has to be tough.

And it's a bit frustrating because it gives ammo to the anti-saber, "some guys just don't have that postseason mentality" crowd.
   59. pikepredator Posted: October 10, 2019 at 05:21 PM (#5889088)
You don't typically get to be as good as Kershaw without being intensely competitive and hating to lose. Doing so in the postseason has to be tough.


yeah I am not as confident as Snapper that this will "Sting for a little bit and then he'll get over it". I think we often underestimate the psyche of both athletes and performers/musicians/etc. The number of people who have powerful stage personae who at some point open up and talk about crippling anxiety and self-doubt is . . . not insignificant.
   60. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 10, 2019 at 05:24 PM (#5889089)
"A singer is someone with a hole in his heart almost as big as the size of his ego. When you need 20,000 people screaming your name in order to feel good about your day, you know you're a singer." -- Bono
   61. Walt Davis Posted: October 10, 2019 at 05:38 PM (#5889093)
The roster is loaded with young talent and the Dodgers will probably be favorites in the NL again. Will they be content with that and tinker around the edges or will they target one or more of the big fish? They are somewhere around $55-60 million under the $208 million luxury cap number (depending on arbitration) so there is a ton of flexibility there.

The rotation needs work if they want to stay elite. Ryu is an FA, Hill is done, I'm never quite sure what they really think of Maeda. They've got some kids that could step in but (a) you usually don't want that many kids in the rotation at the same time; (b) they've been using a sort of 6-man rotating rotation thing for a few years. Anyway, Cole (or Strasburg if he opts out) at the front of this rotation would go a long way to keeping them elite. And of course the bullpen needs some help but I have no idea who's available there.
   62. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: October 10, 2019 at 05:44 PM (#5889095)

Bases loaded, no outs, tie game, you need a ground ball.


In that situation, a ground ball probably brings a run in and then you're losing. Unless it is hit right at a drawn-in infielder, fairly low odds. So, I'd be looking for a strikeout or popup. Which was the situation before the intentional walk. The choice is to pitch to Soto or Kendrick. Both guys have been productive, so you have to choose which one is the likelier strikeout candidate. That actually slightly favors pitching to Soto.

No matter how many analytics they use, the manager still is weighing short-term data against long-term data. If you don't want to pitch to Soto because of what he just did, why on earth would you let Joe Kelly pitch after what he just gave up to create the situation? This is the highest leverage situation in the game, you've got to go with your high-leverage reliever at that point. The other thing is you cannot give up a walk with the bases loaded - and Kelly is your WORST option in that regard.

Bottom line: Looking at ground ball % as your decision point for this situation is not a smart use of analytics.
   63. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: October 10, 2019 at 06:01 PM (#5889108)
Even if he throws a great inning, that doesn't mean he's ready to do it again. They should have been grateful for that shutout inning, and moved on.



And if Jansen comes in and ##### it up, everyone is saying "Kelly pitched great, why didn't Roberts let him go another inning?"


I'll preface with the fact that my jaw dropped when the Dodgers SIGNED Joe Kelly in December - I thoguht it was a stupid signing for them.

The manager does need to know what Joe Kelly is - a guy who struggles with control. The guys he struck out the previous inning were Taylor and Adams, below-average hitters. So it is short leash time. I'm OK with Kelly out there to start the tenth and see what he has against Eaton, But after that walk, no way I let him pitch to Rendon. Only if he gets Eaton out do I let him pitch to Rendon - and these are decisions that should have been made as soon as the top of the 9th was over.
   64. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 10, 2019 at 06:13 PM (#5889111)

The number of people who have powerful stage personae who at some point open up and talk about crippling anxiety and self-doubt is . . . not insignificant.

Yeah, the most recent article about Danny Graves' issues was illuminating on that front.

I give Kershaw credit in that every time he seems to have a bad postseason he comes back the following spring about as good as ever. I don't particularly like the Dodgers but I hope he gets a ring at some point.
   65. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: October 10, 2019 at 06:14 PM (#5889112)
In retrospect, the IBB to Soto, when Kolarek was available (although he had sat for a couple of innings), is when I decided axing Doc may not be the worst idea.

Rosenthal has a good piece up about how such a serious blunder (or, in Roberts' case, a series of serious blunders) can irrevocably break the trust between a manager and the fans - and, sometimes, between the manager and his team. If Roberts got Grady Little'd today, I'd understand completely.
   66. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: October 10, 2019 at 06:34 PM (#5889118)
Pride is definitely a thing, and Kershaw has everything to be proud of. He's a freaking HoFer. The most dominant pitcher of his generation. This will sting for little bit, and then he'll get over it.


I saw an interview with Tim McCarver in which the interviewer said something like, "Your Cardinals teams won the World Series in 1964, and again in 1967, and then lost Game Seven in 1968 after having taken a 3-1 lead in the Series. Do you ever think about how close you came to that third ring?"

Without even a nanosecond's pause, and with not a hint of humor, McCarver said, "Every day."
   67. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: October 10, 2019 at 07:56 PM (#5889137)
The rotation needs work if they want to stay elite. Ryu is an FA, Hill is done, I'm never quite sure what they really think of Maeda. They've got some kids that could step in but (a) you usually don't want that many kids in the rotation at the same time; (b) they've been using a sort of 6-man rotating rotation thing for a few years. Anyway, Cole (or Strasburg if he opts out) at the front of this rotation would go a long way to keeping them elite. And of course the bullpen needs some help but I have no idea who's available there.

Hill only threw 58 innings this year and can easily be replaced by Julio Urias or Dustin May. Hyun-Jin Ryu does need to be replaced (or re-signed) and probably would love to come back, but this looks like an obvious spot to upgrade. Letting Hill and Ryu go and signing Cole or Strasburg is an upgrade on the field as well as a cost savings.
   68. depletion Posted: October 10, 2019 at 08:53 PM (#5889148)
I agree with I am Ted that most managers will try to get a strikeout with bases loaded no-out in the ninth or extra innings. Even a double play would possibly give up a run, while probably staving off a multi-run inning. If you get the punchout, then you can play for a ground ball (probably with the infield in).
   69. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: October 10, 2019 at 09:54 PM (#5889172)
Hill will be back. He pitched well when healthy (yeah, I know), wants to return, will take any role (i.e., take any offer), and is respected in the clubhouse.

Ryu is a free agent - and a Boras client. He gone.
   70. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 10, 2019 at 09:57 PM (#5889174)
Dave Roberts returning as Dodgers Manager in 2020, “according to two people with knowledge of the situation.”
   71. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: October 10, 2019 at 10:34 PM (#5889183)
I think most postseason heroes would trade their heroics for Kershaw's suffering.


Let's look at Ben Zobrist, a middling post season hero. Setting aside his personal problems, Zo has a WS ring and a WS MVP. He has made $86 mil, and while he is not getting into the HOF, he has had a terrific career. Would he trade places with Kershaw and his $250mil+ and certain HOF status, if Kershaw never wins the big one? I'm not entirely sure.
   72. PreservedFish Posted: October 10, 2019 at 10:39 PM (#5889185)
His personal problems are gonna cost him about $43M, and one cannot just set them aside, as they attest to the fact that there's a meaningful difference between $86M in earnings and $250+M in earnings.
   73. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: October 10, 2019 at 10:46 PM (#5889186)
His personal problems are gonna cost him about $43M, and one cannot just set them aside,


Yes, but I assumed implicit in the question was to consider baseball matters only.

But, you don't like Zo, how about George Springer or Cole Hamels or Madison Bumgarner?
   74. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: October 10, 2019 at 10:58 PM (#5889187)
Point being, there are plenty of post season heroes who obviously wouldn't trade places with Kershaw, like Ortiz, Jeter, Pujols, Johnson, and Schilling. Those are uninteresting to the conversation. Likewise there are plenty who likely would, like Sal Perez, Edgar Renteria, Cody Ross, David Freese, and Steve Pearce. Those are equally uninteresting. It's the middle cases that are interesting, guys who were very good, but not obvious HOFers. Guys who made plenty of money, but nothing like Kershaw money. Zo falls into that category.
   75. bunyon Posted: October 10, 2019 at 11:52 PM (#5889192)
I read the first half of this on a plane and haven't caught up. It seems obvious to me that a) most people would trade places with Clayton Kershaw including a lot of professional athletes. He's doing well enough no one needs to weep tremendously for him. AND b) Damn, that has to suck. Someone above said that, when you're a little kid in the backyard, you dream of winning the world series and being a hero doing it. For most people that dream dies in the backyard. He's gotten much, much closer than most who haven't and...failed. Not just team failed but personally failed.

That has to hurt. And I feel bad for him on that count. He's pursuing a dream that may elude him despite him getting so very close. It's painful.

But it's not living paycheck to paycheck trying to feed your kids.

I hope he'll "get over it". Either by finally winning or just dealing with missing the backyard dream the way the rest of us had to.
   76. Jack Sommers Posted: October 11, 2019 at 12:32 AM (#5889196)
From an unapologetically partisan DBacks fan, but also as s a human being I can have a twinge of empathy towards him. He’s going to be living with and grinding on these failures his entire life, until if and when he has a triumphant moment in a championship situation. And as long as he is a Dodger, I hope that never happens for him, Full Stop.
   77. Jack Sommers Posted: October 11, 2019 at 12:38 AM (#5889197)
Anyway, Cole (or Strasburg if he opts out) at the front of this rotation would go a long way to keeping them elite.


They won't be picking up Gyorko's option obviously, so they are looking at 175M and about 30+ million to play with for 2020 and not have to worry about luxury tax threshold. LA has to be the favorite to sign Cole. He's an LA guy

LA Salary Page

   78. Ithaca2323 Posted: October 11, 2019 at 09:38 AM (#5889222)
Kershaw's legacy is a tough one to figure out. He seemed destined to be a possible GOAT, and certainly the best of this generation. Certainly, the first is not going to happen. But I don't even know if the latter is true any more.

He'll almost assuredly always be the ERA king, but :

Scherzer's got three Cys to his name as well, (with several other high finishes) elite career K numbers, multiple no-hitters, and a 20 K game.

Verlander has blown past him in WAR, pulled even in WAR7, could pick up his 2nd Cy (with a ton of other great finishes), and this last clunker aside, has a good postseason resume with a ring.

As crazy as it sounds, when the dust settles, I could very easily see Kershaw's career coming in third of those guys
   79. pikepredator Posted: October 11, 2019 at 10:12 AM (#5889240)
It's the middle cases that are interesting, guys who were very good, but not obvious HOFers. Guys who made plenty of money, but nothing like Kershaw money. Zo falls into that category.


Someone mentioned Bumgarner above, who is a great pick for this exercise. Now, if Bumgarner is able to adapt as he ages and finds a way to pitch well for another 8-10 years, he could definitely get himself into HOF range.

But, as of today, would you rather have had his career, or Kershaw's? I'd take Bumgarner's. Very strong regular season pitcher who totally carried his team to one WS and got to celebrate two others, going 4-0 and giving up 1 run in 36 innings. Also single-handedly dominated two winner-take-all wild card games.
   80. JL72 Posted: October 11, 2019 at 10:32 AM (#5889253)
yeah I am not as confident as Snapper that this will "Sting for a little bit and then he'll get over it".


I don't think the two things are mutually exclusive. Sure, Kershaw will get over it. As a pitcher, he needs to have a short memory, because there are always times when he gives up a homerun or hit or whatever then needs to face the next batter.

But that does not mean it won't sting, even if lightly, for a long time. The Carver quote above is one example. I recall hearing something similar from one of the Buffalo Bills that made and lost four straight Super Bowls. They certainly got over it and continued on with their lives. Doesn't mean it still doesn't sting, even these many years later.
   81. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 11, 2019 at 02:07 PM (#5889389)
I am bummed for Kershaw. He's been so incredible in the regular season - I don't want him to be remembered for a few postseason meltdowns.


He'll be remembered for the good and the bad, just like ARod and many other superstars with multiple embarrassing postseasons.

Personally I think that Kershaw's built for a 6 month season, and by the time October comes around he simply hits a physical wall. There've been way too many flops to be written off as "small sample size", but it's equally silly to think of him as some sort of a choker.

He won't be. Prior to post 34, did you know Bob Newcombe had a terrible post-season record?

snapper, you're lucky that you weren't required to know anything about Don Newcombe on one of your Jeopardy appearances. (smile)

And don't kid yourself: Newcombe's now an iconic figure who's remembered for his terrific peak and his long and meritorious post-playing days career, but until he started to turn his life around, "Newk the Choker" was what he was known as in Brooklyn, unfair as it may have been. But when you get bombed out of Ebbets Field in consecutive World Series appearances against the hated Yankees, including a game 7 where you give up 3 early home runs and then get into a fight with a parking lot attendant on your way home, and then never have another good year and descend into alcoholism, it takes a while to rebuild that rep.

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