Dad-gum fired up about Kershaw snub on ESPN


Kershaw
If a Phillies pitcher wins over Kershaw ...

It takes a lot to get me fired up.

I don’t mean fired up in a good way like when the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw punk Tim “Dude, Where’s My Car?” Lincecum and the Giants 2-1 like they did Tuesday night.

I mean fired up, as in “I’m so fired up I’m about to break out a can of …you-know-what on someone’s head!” I don’t usually get too fired up when politicians are saying stupid things. I don’t even get fired up when televangelists are spouting off about the latest and greatest way to buy your way into heaven.

But this morning I got dad-gum fired up (putting “dad-gum” in front of something means folks are hot and bothered in the South, by the way). I was eating my bowl of Reese’s Puffs (the best breakfast cereal known to man, by the way) in front of the TV and was watching ESPN Sports Center.

The regular anchor started talking about the National League Cy Young race and said that a baseball expert was going to break down the race and the favorites. Then this “expert” came on and said that no matter what, a Philadelphia Phillies pitcher – either Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay – is most deserving of the Cy Young award.
ESPN then flashed Lee, Halladay and Kershaw on the screen. Kershaw has more wins than Halladay or Lee. Kershaw has fewer losses than either pitcher. Kershaw has a lower ERA than either pitcher (are you sensing a theme here?). Kershaw has more strikeouts than either pitcher.

But hold on, despite this dominance, one of the Phillies deserves the Cy Young more than Kershaw? I thought ESPN had a drug-testing program. Maybe that’s only for the athletes the network covers.

This baseball bozo went on to explain his stance about Kershaw not deserving the Cy Young by throwing out IPBB, IPXYZ and some other alphabetical garbage that actually showed Halladay and Lee ahead of Kershaw on an “official” chart.

If you take a homely girl and ask enough guys, you can also find someone who thinks she’s pretty enough to rank on some kind of list. You mean to tell me that we’re supposed to throw out wins, losses, ERA and strikeouts and delve into inane stats that only Billy Beane would appreciate in order to determine the best Cy Young candidate? (How cool is it that I have been able to pull off “dad-gum” and “inane” in the same article?).
You want to compare the real numbers? Kershaw has 20 wins; Halladay has 18 and Lee has 16. Kershaw has five losses; Halladay has six and Lee has eight. Kershaw has an ERA of 2.27; Lee’s is 2.38 and Halladay’s is 2.41. Kershaw has 242 strikeouts; Lee has 232 and Halladay has 217.

Another reason to validate Kershaw’s Cy Young candidacy is the fact that he plays on a team that is far inferior offensively to the Phillies. The Phillies have hit 146 home runs as a team; the Dodgers 108. Philadelphia has driven in 656 runs this season; the Dodgers have driven in 574. The Phillies have scored 676 runs; the Dodgers have scored 604.

What in the name of Moneyball do these stats mean? They mean that every time Lee and Halladay take the mound, they have a much better chance of getting run support than Kershaw. Yet, Kershaw has bested them in every major pitching category.

And I’ll even go as far to say that if Kershaw doesn’t win the Cy Young, I think another pitcher besides Lee and Halladay deserves it more – Ian Kennedy of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Kennedy is having a banner year, has won 20 games and has a sterling 2.88 ERA.

Are Halladay and Lee great pitchers? They are two of the best pitchers, if not the best, in all of Major League Baseball. However, this year, neither of them deserves the NL Cy Young award. This year, it’s Kershaw’s, whether he is actually given the award or not.

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  1. I couldn’t have said it any better, Drp. Wins and ERA are two of the most important pitching categories. It can make your head spin looking at all the different categories that you can measure a pitcher by these days, but the bottom line is whether he is winning games and not allowing runs.

  2. I think the move away from wins being a valuable statistic is a little shortsighted. Undervaluing wins is losing the forest for the trees. I have never heard an owner, general manager, or manager say, “Don’t think much of wins”. Of course wins reflect some things other than just the pitcher’s performance, but the great pitchers will get more over the course of their careers than the mediocre pitchers. I think sabremetics are great, but baseball is about winning, and how much a pitcher wins should never be treated lightly.

  3. Thanks for reading, Diego. As you can tell from my article, wins are just one of the categories that I used to justify Kershaw’s legitimacy. He is the total package who is at or near the top of almost every major pitching category.

  4. Don’t think much of wins. Not too impressed by your argument about which team has better hitters (since that is really another argument about wins). ERA is a little better argument, but Kershaw pitches in Chavez Ravine for half his games, so I expect a lower ERA. However, Kershaw also has a slightly better ERA+ (takes ballpark factors into consideration). and VERY similar strikeouts, walks, and innings pitched. So while I think there is room for argument over whom should win the Cy Young, I think you have to be a complete idiot (or be a typical broadcaster just trying to get attention) to say that Kershaw is not a very strong candidate.

  5. This article was horrible. Seriously. Nothing makes me madder than an ignorant person like you claiming that win and losses and old-school statistics are inherently superior to new stats, that sabermetricians are idiots who “don’t understand the game.” Get with the times. This was a waste of space.

  6. you realize nowadays if you use wins as a basis for judging any pitcher, you’re gonna be laughed off the face of the analytical world, right? I agree wholeheartedly that Kershaw deserves this award, but as far as justifying why, I’m gonna go somewhere else for my analysis.

  7. Aj, I am a die-hard Dodgers fan. I have never denied that and will never do so; however, I’m also a realist. If Kershaw didn’t deserve the award, I wouldn’t be so passionate about my stance on this…but he does deserve it! And Kennedy has had a helluva season as well. I would be totally fine with Kershaw or Kennedy taking home the Cy Young because they have posted these amazing numbers with lineups that are far less potent than the Phillies. When Lee and Halladay take the mound, they each have five or six guys behind them who are serious power threats. The Dodgers have Kemp this season, and that’s about it. Kershaw has to hope the Dodgers score a run for him and then he does the rest.

  8. Right, Mbillar. And when you hold hitters to a lower batting average, good things are gonna happen. The only time Kershaw hasn’t gone more than five innings lately was because he was thrown out in the 5th because of that brush-back against the D’backs. If Clayton doesn’t win this award, it will be a complete joke!…and I mean that, dad-gummit!

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