Some Dodger-Giant notes from ESPN Stats and Info:
- Just 12 days after turning 23, Clayton Kershaw will be the fifth-youngest opening day starter for the Dodgers since moving to Los Angeles in 1958. He’s the youngest since Fernando Valenzuela in 1983. He’s also the first lefty since Valenzuela in 1988. Kershaw will be the Dodgers’ fifth different opening day starter in the past five years. It’s the first time in the last 90 years that the franchise has had five unique opening day starters in five seasons.
Youngest Opening Day Starter
Los Angeles Dodgers History (Yrs-Days)
1981 Fernando Valenzuela 20-159
1958 Don Drysdale 21-266
1983 Fernando Valenzuela 22-155
1959 Don Drysdale 22-262
2011 Clayton Kershaw 23-12
- Most Strikeouts Before 23rd Birthday, Dodgers History
Fernando Valenzuela 584
Clayton Kershaw 497
Don Drysdale 488
Ralph Branca 397
Don Sutton 378
- Kershaw’s 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings is the second-highest before turning 23 since 1900 (min. 400 IP):
Sam McDowell 9.6 1961-65
Clayton Kershaw 9.3 2008-10
Dwight Gooden 8.7 1984-87
Dave Boswell 8.4 1964-67
Vida Blue 8.1 1969-72
- Since 1900, no one has more strikeouts through his first four seasons than Tim Lincecum.
Tim Lincecum 907 2007-10
Dwight Gooden 892 1984-87
Hideo Nomo 870 1995-98
Tom Seaver 866 1967-70
Bert Blyleven 845 1970-73
- Among the Giants’ current rotation, Lincecum actually had the second-highest ERA last season. Much of that was due to an August in which he went 0-5 with a 7.82 ERA. Some notes on that month:
1) According to Elias, Lincecum became the first Giants pitcher to go at least 0-5 with an ERA of 7.80 or higher since Bud Black (0-6, 8.01 ERA) in September 1992.
2) Opponents hit .388 with runners on base off Lincecum in August.
3) Right-handed batters hit .362 in August against Lincecum. For the rest of the season, they hit just .210.
4) When you eliminate August, Lincecum was 16-5 with a 2.84 ERA in 2010.
- According to Inside Edge, the velocity on Lincecum’s fastball has declined each of the past three seasons:
2008 94.1 mph
2009 92.6 mph
2010 91.2 mph
- His swing-and-miss percentage also has gone down each year:
- The Giants are looking to be just the fourth NL team to repeat as World Series champs, and the first since the 1975-76 Reds.
- The team finished with a 1.78 ERA in September, the fifth-lowest in a calendar month in the live ball era (since 1930). Opponents hit just .182 in September, the lowest since the Indians held opponents to a .174 average in May 1968.
Lowest ERA in Calendar Month
Live Ball Era (Since 1920)
Indians 1.42 May 1968
Dodgers 1.59 Sept. 1965
Dodgers 1.71 May 1920
Yankees 1.76 Sept. 1952
Giants 1.78 Sept. 2010
- Don Mattingly makes his managerial debut. According to Elias, only four people have won an MVP and managed a team to a World Series title: Joe Torre, Mickey Cochrane, Frankie Frisch, Lou Boudreau. However, the latter three did so as player-managers.
- Since 2008, Kershaw and Lincecum rank first and second in opponent batting average:
Clayton Kershaw .221
Tim Lincecum .223
Jonathan Sanchez .226
Ubaldo Jimenez .227
Felix Hernandez .232
- This will be the 10th time since 1958 that these teams have met on Opening Day. The Giants have won six of the previous nine.
- Though he had a reputation for overworking relievers, Joe Torre’s Dodgers were not generally among the top teams in using a pitcher on zero days rest.
Dodgers relief appearances on zero days’ rest (NL rank)
2010 66 (14th)
2009 79 (6th)
2008 69 (13th)
- James Loney has 268 RBI over the past three seasons, but only 36 homers. Among the 43 players with 250 RBI since 2008, he has the fewest home runs.
Name HR RBI
James Loney 36 268
Joe Mauer 46 256
Jhonny Peralta 49 253
Bobby Abreu 55 281
- Among current NL players, Loney has the third-highest career batting average with runners in scoring position (min. 500 PA):
Albert Pujols .345
Todd Helton .335
James Loney .326
Freddy Sanchez .320