Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner and a twisted, twisted game

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By Jon Weisman

On April 1, 2013, Clayton Kershaw homered in a 4-0 victory over the Giants, in a year he would beat them three times with a 1.38 ERA.

On May 21, 2015, Madison Bumgarner homered in a 4-0 victory over the Dodgers, in a year he has beaten them three times* with a 1.31 ERA.

*OK, one of those was a no-decision in a Giants victory, but allow me my symmetry.

I can’t help but find the most interesting thing about Thursday’s game in San Francisco is not the state of the Dodger offense — please, you can’t be blind to understanding that the freakish scoreless streak will soon become a memory — but just that baseball never ceases to be baseball.

Frankly, that’s true as far as analyzing Thursday’s game goes. Baseball was so baseball yesterday.

Let’s take the ongoing drama “CSI: Kershaw.” For seven innings, Kershaw outpitched Bumgarner. Despite leaving with a 2-0 lead, Bumgarner was in trouble all day, allowing 10 baserunners in six innings, but he got another great catch from outfielder Angel Pagan and was bailed out at one critical point by Alex Guerrero’s remarkable baserunning blunder. The Giants lefty got one out in the seventh and then was done.

Kershaw made one gruesome pitch to Bumgarner in the third, then allowed three batters to reach base in a one-run fourth. The rest of those seven innings, Kershaw allowed two hits and two walks while striking out seven, all in an efficient 91 pitches.

Then, in an eighth inning Bumgarner was long gone from, Kershaw allowed two baserunners whom the Dodger defense and bullpen let score, and once again, instead of going down, Kershaw’s ERA went up.

But we can also say this: For seven innings, Bumgarner outpitched Kershaw. I’m not oblivious to the fact that nothing matters more than keeping zeroes on the scoreboard, and that Bumgarner deserves the lion’s share of credit, not to mention the share of almost every other animal, for the Dodgers’ 0-for-7 performance with runners in scoring position. Bumgarner was the winner Thursday, and deservedly so.

To that apparent contradiction, I offer this reasoning that erstwhile “Simpsons” voice actor Harry Shearer presented to Marc Maron earlier this year.

I have to say about this something that I learned from my six years of analysis, of psychoanalysis. Which is, one mark of adulthood is you can hold two conflicting emotions about the same thing at the same time. Two things can be true at the same time. So it is true that as an actor on an insanely successful TV series, I am by any standards of the human species obscenely overpaid. It is also true that as an actor on one of the most insanely successful television series of all time, I am getting royally screwed. Both things are true.

In other words: baseball.


How Clayton Kershaw became underrated


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1 Comment

  1. There was also no need for Pagan to do another little jump when catching that ball, much like he did on Grandel ball in game 2, jumps to make it look like he saved a homer, when in fact it wouldn’t even hit the wall and he could have camped underneath it and caught it normally. This one, he purposely slows down to jump instead of just running and reaching out to catch the ball normally. Guys an a-hole of the highest kind with his actions on the field, and not just against the Dodgers. I don’t wish ill will on a lot of people, but on him let’s just say I wouldn’t feel bad if he’s permanently “out”.

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