September 19, 2011 |
The comparisons were inevitable: He was a young left-hander with a mid-90s fastball and a curveball that froze hitters. So, on the day Clayton Kershaw was first promoted to the Dodgers' major league spring training camp in 2008, then-manager Joe Torre simply said what was on everyone else's mind. That Kershaw reminded him of Sandy Koufax. Kershaw was 19 years old. Torre tried to take it back, but his words were already out. "Oh, man," farm director De Jon Watson recalled thinking.
August 11, 2012 |
[Corrected Aug. 14, 3:48 p.m.] Absolutely. That's not to say he's currently the leading candidate, but he has put himself back in the hunt. It could yet happen. A few weeks ago when Kershaw was melting in the St. Louis heat and left with a 7-6 record and a 3.14 ERA, maybe it seemed it was getting out of reach. To that point, Kershaw was having a strong season, but something below the dominating 21-5, 2.28 season he turned in last year. But last season he won it with an incredible finish (13-1, 1.22 in his last 15 starts)
April 25, 2009 |
Angels Manager Mike Scioscia, as expected, named 23-year-old right-hander Anthony Ortega, who was 1-1 with a 9.88 earned-run average in three games at triple-A Salt Lake, to start tonight against the Seattle Mariners. Meanwhile, free agent Paul Byrd, a veteran who was 8-2 with a 3.46 ERA in the second half of 2008, continues to throw in Georgia and hope the Angels, who have four starters on the disabled list, change their mind about procuring outside pitching help.
February 22, 2010 |
The Seattle Mariners clearly have the two best pitchers in the American League West in Felix Hernandez, a right-hander who had a 19-5 record with a 2.49 earned-run average and 217 strikeouts last season, and Cliff Lee, a left-hander who won the Cy Young Award when he was 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA for the Cleveland Indians in 2008. A full house, the Angels will remind you, beats a pair of aces. "We might not have a bona fide No. 1 guy like CC Sabathia or Josh Beckett, but we have five bona fide No. 2 guys," Joe Saunders said.
October 2, 2010 |
Good pitching beats good hitting. It's as immutable a part of baseball physics as the spin on a curveball or the sink of a fastball. "Pitching wins championships," San Francisco Giants outfielder Aaron Rowand said. "It's cliche. But it's true. " Which is why the Giants, who have baseball's best pitching staff, will play past the end of the regular season Sunday while the Kansas City Royals, the second-best hitting team in the majors, are going to finish last in the American League West.
March 20, 2008 |
PHOENIX -- It would seem tempting for the Angels, given Ervin Santana's track record, to slot the right-hander in the fifth spot in the rotation. That way, Santana would avoid a season-opening, four-game series at Minnesota and make his first two starts of 2008 in Angel Stadium against Texas and Cleveland. Santana, remember, went 1-10 with an 8.38 earned-run average on the road and 6-4 with a 3.27 ERA at home in 2007, a season in which he was so erratic he was demoted to triple A in July for a month.
August 3, 2012 |
The Dodgers acquired a starting pitcher from the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday, but it wasn't Cliff Lee. They instead traded for Joe Blanton. The Dodgers will send the Phillies a player to be named later. Blanton, 31, figures to move into the Dodgers rotation and replace rookie Stephen Fife. Blanton is 8-9 with a 4.59 earned-run average this season. His 22 home runs allowed are tied for most in the National League with Mike Minor of the Atlanta Braves. Blanton is 81-71 with a 4.35 ERA over nine major league seasons.
June 24, 2012 |
And so, once again, we come to sing in praise of left-hander Chris Capuano. It's an interesting little ditty. It doesn't typically come equipped with gaudy statistics, though he has some very good numbers. He is 9-2 with a 2.60 ERA, both figures the best of any regular member of the Dodgers' rotation. The Dodgers have been winning with pitching - their starting rotation's ERA (3.22) is the second lowest in baseball - which is why Capuano deserves to be an All-Star. “The numbers don't lie, right?
October 31, 2012 |
Under the swelling file of “Funny How Life Works,” you can add Brandon League's 2012 season. He started as the Mariners closer, lost the job before the end of May, was traded to the Dodgers before the nonwaiver trading deadline, had a 10.80 ERA in his first seven appearances for Dodgers and then finished closing out the ninth inning. Oh yeah, and on Tuesday he signed a three-year, $22.5-million deal to be the Dodgers closer. “You can't make this stuff up,” League said.
March 18, 2010 |
It began as an interview and at one point turned into an apology. "It was a tough year," closer Brian Fuentes said of his Angels debut in 2009. "I struggled. I really had to battle through some adversity. I think I could have done better across the board." Imagine how much worse Fuentes would have felt had he not led the major leagues in saves. From a rocky April, to a pair of spectacular meltdowns in late July and that fateful playoff home run to Alex Rodriguez, the 34-year-old Fuentes took a lot of heat last season for a guy who racked up 48 saves.