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INSIDE BASEBALL

Down The Line

September 29, 2013|Bill Shaikin
  • Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw's earned-run average of 1.83 leads the major leagues. He also leads the National League in strikeouts (232).
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw's earned-run average of 1.83 leads the… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

Blue legacy

Sandy Koufax won three Cy Young awards, all unanimously. When Orel Hershiser won in 1988, the vote was unanimous.

When Clayton Kershaw wins the National League Cy Young award this year, the vote ought to be unanimous too.

He led the major leagues in earned-run average for the third consecutive season, this time with a 1.83 mark that was the lowest since 2000, when Pedro Martinez put up a 1.74 -- and won unanimously.

Kershaw led the NL with 232 strikeouts. He finished second in innings, with a career-high 236. He started 33 games and gave up zero or one earned run 19 times. He won 16 games, but only two NL pitchers won more.

"If he's not the best, you're going to have to sell me on who's better," said Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly.

Baseball's next big arm comes and goes, but baseball's best pitcher plays at Dodger Stadium.

"This year, it was [the New York Mets' Matt] Harvey was the best," Mattingly said. "Last year, it was [the Washington Nationals' Stephen] Strasburg. Every year, Kersh is right there."

Our award picks:

Most valuable player -- NL: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates; AL: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers.

Cy Young -- NL: Kershaw; AL: Max Scherzer, Tigers.

Rookie -- NL: Yasiel Puig, Dodgers; AL: Wil Myers, Rays.

Manager -- NL: Clint Hurdle, Pirates; AL: Terry Francona, Indians.

Homecoming blues

This might be the most awkward story line of the postseason: The Oakland Athletics have no place to play next year.

Their Oakland Coliseum lease expires after the season. As of now, the A's have no lease for next season and no contingency agreement to play elsewhere.

The A's and Coliseum officials are negotiating a five-year extension, with three one-year options. Neither the team nor the league appears concerned the deal might collapse, although we can imagine how heartily the San Francisco Giants would laugh if the A's asked to share AT&T Park.

The Giants have succeeded in keeping the A's out of San Jose, at least so far. If the A's get that Coliseum extension, the San Jose move they announced in 2009 would not take place until 2019 -- at the earliest. The never-say-quit Bartolo Colon would turn 46 that year.

Power down

When Bud Selig retires as commissioner in 16 months, his successor will not be granted the same powers of office.

That is not hyperbole. Under the major league constitution, the authority granted to Selig to penalize clubs and players with whatever sanction "the Commissioner may deem appropriate" expires "at such time as the current Commissioner ceases to hold office."

The erosion in power could become alarming based on two events this week. On Monday, the Alex Rodriguez arbitration hearing starts. On Friday, MLB and the city of San Jose face off in federal court over the potential move of the A's.

The commissioner's office intends to assert its authority over drug suspensions and franchise relocation. To lose in either case -- or both -- could reduce the commissioner's power so dramatically that some potential Selig successors might wonder whether the job would be worth it.

-- Bill Shaikin

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