The 2014 National League Division Series that the Dodgers are competing in starts Friday and features the top pitcher in baseball against a very, very good one.
The Dodger’s Clayton Kershaw will face St. Louis Cardinal Adam Wainwright in the first game at beautiful Dodger Stadium.
For us old school fans, that harkens back to the mid ’60s Dodgers/Cardinals rivalry when 32 and 53 faced Bob Gibson, who was almost as mean as Drysdale, and had a lower ERA in 1968 than Koufax ever did. Gibson also won the Cy Young Award AND the N.L. MVP Award in that same season. Kershaw has a lock on the Cy Young Award and a very good chance to nab the MVP, especially if he leads the Dodgers to a world championship.
The comparison between the Dodgers
and Cardinals goes way back to the turn of the last century, but mostly started when Branch Rickey helmed the Redbirds from 1919 until 1942. His focus on building a great farm system and teaching fundamentals and the “Cardinal way” to all levels, including the big league team, came with him when he became the General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers at end of the 1942 season. Since 1901, only the Cardinals and Giants have a winning record against the Dodgers, not including inter – league play.
Of course, past history is not a predictor of future results. The 2014 Dodgers are a better team than the Cardinals and, barring multiple injuries or a massive meltdown, should beat them and progress to the next level. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We need to focus on one game at a time.
AJ Ellis has gotten 38 of the 46 plate appearances for catchers in the month of September. Drew Butera has four. Tim Federowicz has four.
What does it matter? Plenty. While none of the three of them have many hits this season, AJ Ellis is the tried and true backstop that manages all of the pitching staff. He needs some rest. We can’t afford an injury to Ellis ahead of the playoffs. Also, while he doesn’t collect many hits, he has collected enough free bases this year to push his OBP (on-base percentage) to .322.
I guess it made sense to start him all three games in the all-important Dodgers-Giants series over the weekend. But now, give him a rest. I’m surprised to see him starting today in Colorado.