Dodgers go to Arizona for the last series

September 26, 2011

Clayton Kershaw may have clinched the pitching triple crown barring an out of order appearance by Ian Kennedy in the next three games.  He finished the season first in Wins (tied), ERA and strikeouts.  His record puts him in strong contention for the Cy Young Award.  However, it is not an absolute lock.  He trails the Phillie’s Halladay and/or Lee in several other stats including WAR for pitchers, Bases On Balls per 9 IP, complete games and shutouts.

One area where Kershaw is head and heals above his peers is his commitment to an orphanage for vulnerable children in Lusaka, Zambia.  He promised to donate $100 for every strikeout he pitched this year.  Finishing with 248, Clayton will donate $24,800 out of his $5oo,ooo salary, almost 5% of his check before taxes and other deductions.  It is like Hiroki Kuroda making a $595,200 donation.  This is one of the best stories of the year.

Matt Kemp did not make much progress in his quest for the Triple Crown.  Entering today’s game, Kemp is tied with Albert Pujols for the league lead in homers with 37, he leads the league in RBIs with 120, and his batting average of .324 is third in the league, seven points behind Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun.   Kemp needs to go 7 for 14 in his last three games to raise his average to .32836 and three home runs to reach the elusive 40/40 club.  If Ryan Braun goes 2 for 14 in his last games, he will finish just below Kemp at .32807.

Dana Eveland, who will probably be pitching his last game as a Dodger, goes up against Daniel Hudson tonight.

This Day in Dodgers History

September 26, 1997 – In a 10-4 win over the Rockies, Dodger catcher Mike Piazza hits the longest home run in the history of Coors Field. The 28-year old backstop’s sixth-inning blast travels 496 feet and hits the left center field billboard between the scoreboard and Rock pile.

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The MVP and the Cy Young Award

August 27, 2011

I thought I’d give 32 a break and try and write one of these things. I hope your Plumber’s Hell is just about over.

Just about the only interesting thing that has come out of the ’11 Dodger season (other than following the dropping attendance of course) has been the possibility of the NL MVP and Cy Young Awards going to Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw.

It dawned on me the other day that the Dodgers’ poor record, while a hindrance to Matt and the MVP, could actually aid Clayton’s Cy bid. Especially in a year when the Phillies’ vote will be split between Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, the voters might well have some sympathy for Kershaw toiling for a crummy team, while Kemp is fighting uphill against the “How Can He Be Most Valuable” sentiment.

Any decent baseball fan can cite Andre Dawson’s ’87 great stats (with a last-place club) against Kirk Gibson’s good stats (with a Series-winning team) in ’88 in arguing whether either one really deserved it. And every now and then we’ll have a season in which the MVP debate brings the club into it, but never the Cy. Why? Obviously, it’s the “Most-Valuable” thing. Here’s my solution: The Player of the Year.

“Whoa!” you say. “The other sports have MVPs.” “There’s already enough awards in baseball.”

I say, “Why not?”

The Cy is only for pitchers, one in the AL and one in the NL. Make the MVP only for position players, and keep it one in each league. After all, how “valuable” can you be if you’re only on the field once every five days? OK, there’s another argument, but let’s leave it for another day.

The Player of the Year (the Associated Press names an offensive and a defensive Player of the Year in the NFL) would not involve the fortunes of his team. I’d make both position players and pitchers eligible for it. I’d even think of making only one for all of MLB.

Of course, I know of the inherent “danger” of threatening to remove some of the debates. Baseball fans love to debate more than any other fan of any other sport. But I think, especially if you keep it to one PotY (yeesh, that’s a horrible acronym), there might even be more debate.

But what’s better, is that the MVPs would indeed be Most Valuable and the Player of the Year would be quite impressive.

This Day in Dodgers History

August 27, 2005 – Jeff Kent becomes the first player to hit 300 homers as a second baseman. The Dodger infielder, who has surpassed Ryne Sandberg’s total of 277 last September, is the major league leader at this position with Joe Gordon holding the American League record with 246 round-trippers.