Daily Archives: September 2, 2011

Kershaw, The Diamondbacks, and Milwaukee’s Best

I have to admit, I haven’t been watching a ton of baseball lately. Maybe having the A’s out of the picture before summer was in full swing is to blame. I have however, seemed to catch all of Clayton Kershaw’s starts over the past month and a half, and the scruffy faced kid has won me over, and for the record he can blow one helluva bubble. He reminds me of Lincecum a little, but bigger and more imposing on the hill. He’s gone 9-1 with a 1.18 ERA since the All-Star Break, and has looked filthy every time he takes the hill. Not even Cliff Lee’s dominant August can help him match what Kershaw has done over the past two months. Maybe he hasn’t gotten that much hype, because there’s only 10 people showing up to Chavez Ravine these days. Some argue that when you’re pitching on a losing team in meaningless games it makes it so much easier to put up great numbers. Personally, I think it’s probably harder, because you get less run support, but that’s a whole other argument. Plus let’s face it, nobody wants to lose anywhere in life, most players are competitive and aren’t simply mailing in these games, they just have inferior talent. Kershaw currently outpaces Halladay (the yearly Cy Young favorite), in wins, K’s, WHIP, IP, and ERA. Sure, Kershaw has had one more start than Doc, but it’s a lot closer race than you might think. Kershaw is starting to be the Jered Weaver of the NL. Great pitcher, but for some reason not considered the best by many, yet that is…

The Diamondbacks have been a HUGE surprise this year. I’ve heard people trying to decipher whether Kevin Towers or Kirk Gibson deserves the credit for their success. I’d say it’s Towers hands down, and not because I’m still bitter from the homer Gibson hit off Eckersly in the 88 World Series, ok so maybe I am, I’m sure you’d hold onto the grudge too if it happened to your team. Anyways, if it weren’t for Towers, Gibson would never have had the “interim” tag taken off his “coach” title. A lot of newly appointed GM’s like hand pick their own manager, but he’s being rewarded for sticking with the guy he saw had some passion for this team. Also in his first week in the office, he sent strikeout/home run king Mark Reynolds to Baltimore for David Hernandez and Cam Mikolio. Winning trade right there for the D’backs adding their setup man in Hernandez, for the overpaid Reynolds. Shortly after that trade, he signed JJ Putz. Not many people outside Seattle really knew much about Putz or his skills, but he has always been a good option out of the pen, and came pretty cheap considering he was injured almost all last year. I’m not sure he knew at the time, but in two quick moves he secured the 8th and 9th innings of games. Sound familiar? He did the same thing with the Padres for many years, believing in having a strong bullpen, and making the game a little shorter. What’s the result? Last year their bullpen ERA was 5.75, this year you ask? 3.19 ERA. He went on to sign Joe Saunders, Miguel Montero, Kelly Johnson, and Micah Owings to one year deals. What was his best move this year you may ask? NOT moving Justin Upton. It sounded like his phone was ringing off the hook with multiple offers for him, and to his credit he stood pat, which looks like a wise choice since he’s now an MVP candidate.

I think I’ve been a closet Brewers fan since CC was going on three days rest every start for their playoff push in 2008. Or maybe it was the Prince walk-off bowling pin celebration that did it. I’m always drawn to those loose creative type teams that seem like they want to have fun. Maybe those images from that year were ingrained in my mind, so that’s why I picked them the last couple years in our pre-season MLB predictions to win the Central. Whatever the reason for the sudden infatuation with them, they played some great baseball in August going 20-7. It’s been amazing that they’ve kept building a lead in the division when they were without All-Star 2nd baseman Rickie Weeks. They’ve pretty much done it all with pitching now that Greinke is finally showing them his Cy Young form, and is giving them what they hoped they’d get out of him when they sent a lot of prospects to KC. Is it just me or does this team feel a little like the Giants last year? Not necessarily how the cast was built, but more so in the timely hitting department backed by solid starting pitching every night. I guess this offense is a little more intimidating than the Giants O was last year, especially with Hart finding his stroke lately they truly are starting to resemble an AL lineup. With Weeks coming off the DL within a week this could be the team to beat! Even if they happen to get a little tight down the stretch, they always have Nyjer (Bryant Gumble) Morgan to loosen up the locker room. For some reason I feel so confident in them at the moment I just put a futures bet in at 20/1 odds to win it all. I’m sure I’ll celebrate a $400 win with a post if it all works out….