Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Tyson Ross

Will Kershaw repeat as NL Pitcher of the Month?

ATLANTA BRAVES VS LOS ANGELES DODGERSFor more highlights from Thursday’s game, visit LA Photog Blog.

Cubs at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Matt Kemp, RF
Justin Turner, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Dan Haren, P

By Jon Weisman

Clayton Kershaw was as unsurprising a winner as they come of National League’s Pitcher of the Month honors in June. And in July, he hardly declined.

Thanks to a 1.07 ERA last month, Kershaw is the first pitcher to have an ERA under 2.00 through the end of July in back to back seasons since Greg Maddux in 1994-95, notes Lee Sinins at Gammons Daily.

The lefty’s current 2014 ERA is better than Sandy Koufax’s best (1.73) and coming within range of the 98-year-old franchise record, 1.58 by Rube Marquard in 1916.

To be clear, Kershaw already set the Dodger record for adjusted ERA in a season last year, a record he is on pace to smash this year.

Kershaw’s July ERA was somehow only fourth in Major League Baseball but first in the NL.  Interestingly, Kershaw also has a close match in the American League with the same initials, as Carson Cistulli of Fangraphs notes.

CK

So, what about July in the NL?

  • Kershaw led the league in ERA (1.07), just ahead of San Diego’s Tyson Ross (1.10) and the Mets’ Jacob deGrom (1.39).
  • He was tops in WAR (1.4), followed closely by deGrom, Ross and Zack Greinke.
  • He was first in innings (42), edging Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels (41 2/3) and Ross (41).
  • Things shift a bit when you look at FIP (fielding-independent pitching). Kershaw (2.06) is fourth, fairly far behind deGrom (1.43), Greinke and Ross.
  • And how about this? July’s NL leader in xFIP is none other than Hyun-Jin Ryu (2.19), with Greinke second and Kershaw sixth (2.52). Ross, deGrom and Washington’s Stephen Strasburg occupy the spots in between.
  • Strikeouts per nine innings? Kershaw (9.21) was seventh, with Greinke (10.60) just ahead of deGrom (10.58) and Ross (10.54), followed by Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto, Ryu and Strasburg.

ATLANTA BRAVES VS LOS ANGELES DODGERSAs you can see, it’s a tight race. There’s a statistical case for deGrom, except for the fact that he threw 32 1/3 innings, 23 percent fewer than Kershaw. (Note that this same argument was used in reverse against Kershaw when it came time to pick the NL’s All-Star Game starting pitcher.) Ryu only pitched 28 1/3 innings in July.

The top challenger to Kershaw for July NL Player of the Month honors is Ross. I would pick Kershaw, by a nose, but in my mind, it’s enough of a tossup that it really comes down to whether the powers that be want to spread the wealth around.

No matter what happens this month, Kershaw has bigger fish to fry, individually (Cy Young race, anyone?) as well as his drive to lead the Dodgers to a title.

* * *

Other news and notes …

  • Scott Elbert remained in the Dodger organization after clearing waivers and accepting an assignment to Albuquerque. In addition, Erisbel Arruebarrena was returned from Rancho Cucamonga to Albuquerque, and is serving a five-game suspension for his role in the recent brawl there. Brian Cavazos-Galvez, a 12th-round draft pick in 2009, was released, according to the MLB.com report.
  • At Gammons Daily, Alec Dopp takes an analytics look at Matt Kemp’s two-month surge.

    “Perhaps the main reason behind Kemp’s lofty in-play average since the beginning of June has been his ability to generate ideal trajectories at a higher frequency, increasing his 25.6% line-drive rate from April-May to 29.6% from June to July (third-highest in baseball in that span). …

    For Kemp, whose line-drive rate has improved some despite actually hitting pitches ‘hard’ less frequently since the beginning of June, this fact bodes well for his current production moving forward if he continues to produce line drive trajectories, coupled with his ability to decipher between balls and strikes on the inner-half of the plate.”

  • Don Sutton told a Vin Scully story to Ron Cervenka of Think Blue L.A.
  • USA Today ranked Dodger Stadium No. 2 in Major League Baseball for food options.

April 2 pregame: Lather, rinse, repeat

[mlbvideo id=”31756453″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

Dodgers at Padres, 7:10 p.m.
Carl Crawford, LF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Andre Ethier, CF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Dee Gordon, 2B
Dan Haren, P

By Jon Weisman

For all their early season injuries, the Dodgers have the exact same starting eight position players, batting in the same order, for the third straight game.

That hasn’t happened since September 3-5, 2012, when Don Mattingly offered the following octet:

Mark Ellis, 2B
Shane Victorino, LF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, CF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Andre Ethier, RF
Luis Cruz, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C

* * *

Tyson Ross, the starting pitcher for the Padres tonight, struck out 10 of 20 Dodgers the last time he faced them, on September 1. The first time he faced them, on April 17, he got his first Major League hit but hurt his shoulder on the swing and didn’t pitch again for 15 days. The 6-foot-5 Ross, who turns 27 this month, had a 3.17 ERA and 8.6 strikeouts per nine innings last year (2.93 and 9.6 after the All-Star Break), and at Petco Park, his ERA was 2.03.

* * *

My favorite stats after four games:

  • Team OPS leaders: Dee Gordon .962, Juan Uribe .941
  • Team starting pitching: 23 2/3 innings, 1.14 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 9.1 K/9
  • A.J. Ellis: on pace for 162 walks.
  • Chone Figgins: on pace for 81 walks, zero at-bats
  • No Dodger starter has hit into a double play.

* * *

Update: Jose Dominguez has been recalled from his assignment to Albuquerque, as the Dodgers officially placed Brian Wilson on the disabled list.

Scheduled Dodger starting pitchers for the three-game series against the Giants are Hyun-Jin Ryu on Friday, Paul Maholm on Saturday and Zack Greinke on Sunday.

* * *

From the Dodger press notes: “The Dodgers have limited the Padres to three or fewer runs in each of their last 10 games, winning eight of those contests dating to June 22, 2013.  Los Angeles has posted a 1.13 ERA (11 ER/88.0 IP) in that span. The last time the Dodgers held any opponent to three or fewer runs in 10 consecutive games was April 8-Sept. 9, 2003 against the Diamondbacks (source: Stats, LLC). If the Dodgers hold San Diego to three or fewer runs tonight, it would be their longest such streak against a single opponent since a 12-game run against the Cubs Aug. 26, 1991-Aug. 21, 1992.”

* * *

More news: “The Dodgers will welcome back former Dodger outfielder Raul Mondesi as part of Dominican Heritage at Viva Los Dodgers this Sunday. Mondesi, current mayor of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, will be holding a clothing drive to benefit his hometown of San Cristobal. He will accept donations of gently-worn clothing and will sign autographs for fans. Fans that bring a donation will be placed in a priority line for autographs. … Mondesi will also throw the ceremonial first pitch prior to Sunday’s game.”

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