Game 2: Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

July 18, 2009.

That is the last time Clayton Kershaw picked up a win.  Including the playoffs, Kershaw made 15 appearances, including 13 starts, since his win over the Astros last July.  In those games, Kershaw had a 3.13 ERA and struck out 91 batters (and walked 38) in 77 2/3 innings, but never picked up a W.  What better time for him to pick up a win than today against the Pirates

Manager Joe Torre has said Kershaw is a special pitcher, but he doesn't think it's fair to put extra pressure on the 22-year old.  Tempering expectations is fine, but forgive me if I get excited when thinking of what Kershaw is capable of.  Here's a look at the best age 22 seasons in Dodger history (minimum 100 innings):

Pitcher Year IP ERA ERA+
Billy Loes 1952 187.1 2.69 136
Chad Billingsley 2007 147.0 3.31 135
Ramon Martinez 1990 234.1 2.92 126
Don Drysdale 1959 270.2 3.46 122
Van Lingle Mungo 1933 248.0 2.72 118
Ismael Valdes 1996 225.0 3.32 117
Erv Palica 1950 201.1 3.58 115
Ralph Branca 1948 215.2 3.51 114
Nap Rucker 1907 275.1 2.06 114
Vic Lombardi 1945 203.2 3.31 114

Would anyone really be surprised to see Kershaw atop this list?

**********

After giving up just two runs in his two months as a Dodger, putting up a Dodger record 0.65 ERA in his 27 2/3 innings, reliever George Sherrill gave up three runs in his first game of 2010.  From MLB.com Gameday, here are each of Sherrill's 24 pitches:

Pitch Batter MPH Break PFx Type Result FanGraphs
1 Cedeno 86 7" 7" Change Foul Fastball
2 Cedeno 87 6" 7" Fastball Foul Fastball
3 Cedeno 87 7" 7" Fastball Flyout CF Fastball
4 Iwamura 87 6" 6" Fastball Ball Fastball
5 Iwamura 88 5" 7" Fastball     Swinging Strike    Fastball
6 Iwamura 88 7" 7" Fastball Ball Fastball
7 Iwamura 87 7" 8" Fastball Groundout 6-3 Fastball
8 McCutchen 88 10" 12" Change Ball Fastball
9 McCutchen 87 7" 3" Slider Ball Fastball
10 McCutchen 87 6" 4" Slider Double Fastball
11 Jones 86 7" 7" Change Foul Fastball
12 Jones 75 14" 8" Slider Ball in dirt Slider
13 Jones 88 6" 5" Slider Ball Fastball
14 Jones 87 7" 5" Fastball Foul Fastball
15 Jones 75 13" 9" Curve Foul Slider
16 Jones 77 12" 5" Slider Ball in dirt Slider
17 Jones 88 6" 6" Fastball Ball (wild pitch) Fastball
18 Doumit 75 14" 9" Curve Foul Slider
19 Doumit 88 7" 4" Slider Ball Fastball
20 Doumit 74 13" 7" Curve Foul Slider
21 Doumit 89 6" 4" Fastball Ball Fastball
22 Doumit 75 13" 8" Curve Foul Slider
23 Doumit 88 7" 3" Slider Foul Fastball
24 Doumit 75 12" 8" Slider Home Run Slider

It seems like a few pitches were mislabeled in Gameday, given the speed and the break.  FanGraphs shows that Sherrill threw 17 fastballs and seven sliders, which seems to matchup with the speeds in the table above.  After the game Sherrill spent 15 minutes with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt looking at video, per Tony Jackson of ESPN LA:

"It's just a hair off,'' Sherrill said. "It's just a matter of getting it ironed out and getting my consistency back."

The point is that Sherrill's fastball averaged just 87.4 miles per hour, after hovering right at 90 for almost all of his career.  Sure, this is a small sample size, but that's what Sherrill is working on.  That, and better control, as Sherrill threw 10 of his 24 pitches outside the strike zone, and nine more were fouled off.

Notes:

  • In other bullpen news, Ramon Troncoso is back with the team after the birth of his daughter, and is available to pitch tonight.
  • Normally the first former Princeton pitcher the Dodgers face each year is Chris Young of the Padres, but tonight that distinction goes to Ross Ohlendorf, who was 11-10 with a 3.92 ERA, and a 4.72 FIP for the Pirates last season.  Ohlendorf has faced the Dodgers just once in his career, last September 15.  He took the loss after allowing three runs and nine baserunners in three innings, throwing 70 pitches.
  • The Dodgers have four non-roster invitees that made the club: Garret Anderson, Jeff Weaver, Ramon Ortiz, and Russ Ortiz.  The last time that happened was 2005, when Buddy Carlyle, Scott Erickson, Kelly Wunsch, and Steve Schmoll made the club.
  • In case you missed it yesterday, long-time Dodger Jason Repko has signed a minor league contract with the Minnesota Twins, per Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.  Repko will play center field for the Twins' Triple A affiliate in Rochester.
  • On Monday, Garrett Jones became the first Pirate in the 124-year history of the franchise to hit home runs in his first two at-bats of the season.
  • Former Dodger Fernando Valenzuela will be honored tomorrow, along with former Laker James Worthy, at the Central City Association (CCA) of Los Angeles’ 16th Annual “Treasures of Los Angeles” luncheon.  Past Dodgers honored at this event include Tommy Lasorda and Don Newcombe.

Here are the lineups, per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Dodgers      Pirates            
SS Furcal 2B Iwamura
CF Kemp          CF McCutchen
RF Ethier    RF Jones
LF Manny C Doumit
1B Loney LF Milledge
3B Blake 1B Clement
2B DeWitt 3B LaRoche
C Martin P Ohlendorf
P Kershaw SS Cedeño

**********

Xeifrank's simulation of today's game is here.

Time: 4:05pm

TV: Prime Ticket

Baseball Reference Preview | Box Score | Gameday

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