Torre was asked if Kershaw was at the point where struggling in the Major Leagues was doing the left-hander more harm than good.”I don’t think so,” he said. “He’s got a lot of confidence in his ability. But I’m sure he’s also wondering why he hasn’t gotten better, sooner. That comes with being young. It’s all about being able to locate consistently. It’ll come. He has to keep going out there and eventually he’ll get the feel on a regular basis.”
l would never, ever disagree with Joe Torre. I wouldn’t. I mean, after all, I haven’t led major league teams to the playoffs for the past 12 seasons. I’ve never led a major league team to the playoffs for any year.
Honestly, as much as I think this team is so talented, I give Torre a lot of the credit for keeping them in games. I give him credit for creating a team atmosphere. I don’t have the fear of looking into the dugout and seeing Carlos Perez beating a Gatorade cooler with his bat.
There were teams that were fully-loaded with talent. Karros, Piazza, Mondesi, Nomo, and Hollandsworth. Five straight rookies of the year, and the team languished. Pitching staffs that weren’t spectacular, but very solid with Ramon Martinez, Hideo Nomo, even Pedro Astacio and Tom Candiotti. You could plug them in and know exactly what you’d get. Yet, they never won. It was a fabulous sort of torture.
The truth was they were never managed properly.
Now, we sit with one of the best managers in the game of baseball, and boy does it show. The Dodgers like to put up this lovely piece of information on the scoreboard at games that shows that most of the players if not under the age of 25 are under the age of 27. You would think that would spell a trainwreck, but it hasn’t.
So, when Torre says that Kershaw is going to have to stick it out and get his bearings, I’m going to trust him. Even though, I honestly don’t agree. Well, that’s half true. I wouldn’t have given Kersahw the starting spot at the beginning of the season. I really wanted him to make the team. I really did. But I could have told you in the spring in Phoenix that he could have used a little more time in the minors. He has spectacular stuff, but you can see in his demeanor that he can’t settle his nerves sometimes.
The problem now is that I think it would be doubly detrimental to sit him down. So, that’s where I’m going to agree with Torre. I think working through it with this guy will lead to a very, very strong starter in a couple of years.
After all, Koufax’s first years weren’t that stellar either. And yes, I did compare him to Koufax.
I learned a couple of things today: (a) box scores don’t appear instantly. I’m sitting here 30 seconds after the end of the game repeatedly clicking refresh expecting the box score to pop up. I suppose that’s why they usually appear in the morning paper and (b) it’s game 9 of the 2009 baseball season and I am sorry to report that I was pacing in my living room. This is going to either be a really great or really awful season!
As to the actual game,
- I feel bad that Kershaw didn’t get the win. He still needs to reduce his pitch count by about 10 pitches per inning in my opinion, but he ended the night with 7 innings pitched, 1 earned run and 13 strikeouts. Even better, his ERA is now a fabulous 1.50. (Cue Koufax references.)
- Matt Kemp has a nine game hitting streak. I’ve mentioned it now twice, and he hasn’t been jinxed! (I’m surprised that my outpouring of support for both Kemp and Kershaw hasn’t caused some sort of catastrophe. I just need to keep reminding myself not to buy t-shirts.)
- I’m still very concerned about the 12 runners left in scoring position and the 1 for 7 batting with runners on base. It’s no wonder that the winning run was walked in. Sigh.
- Back to Kershaw. He only faced one more than the minimum hitter for 7 innings. Totally loving it!!
Last thing…I just heard that the last time two Dodgers had back-to-back pitchers with strikeouts in double digits was Kevin Brown and Chan Ho Park.
Oh…one more thing…Kershaw, at 21, is the youngest pitcher to hit that mark in LA Dodger history. Prior to him? Sandy Koufax at 19 years old. (Re-cue the Koufax comparisons.)