By Jon Weisman
Tonight’s Giants-Dodgers game brings the marquee pitching matchup of the young 2015 baseball season in Clayton Kershaw vs. Madison Bumgarner, and the potential for grand irritation among the Los Angeles fanbase if the Dodgers lose.
It’s funny — I’m absolutely looking forward to the game and confident in the Dodgers’ chances. Bumgarner has been good against the Dodgers, but no one dominates an opponent like Kershaw has with the Giants. And while Kershaw has had a few rocky moments in 2015, Bumgarner (5.29 ERA) has been worse.
But the potential of a loss to a rival tonight, of putting another feather in the World Series MVP’s cap and trying to avoid a sweep Thursday afternoon with a minor-league callup (signs pointing to Mike Bolsinger) on the hill, would be plenty to turn the Dodger dial to grrrrr.
Why am I trafficking in these negative thoughts? Isn’t that part of the game, really? If there were no consequences to a loss, we wouldn’t care that much in the first place.
The challenge is not to avoid fear, but to face it … and then never invest too much importance to it.
You can almost see the Dodgers synthesizing these strands in tonight’s lineup. They’re taking the Bumgarner challenge seriously enough to call up Chris Heisey and start eight right-handed position players, including Justin Turner making his third start as a Dodger at first base (he got plenty of work there in March). Yet if the worst happens, they’ll have given Adrian Gonzalez and Joc Pederson a night off so that they can be fresh for Thursday’s sunshine affair. Face the fear, and look beyond.
And by all means, enjoy this fantastic early season event.