On December 10, 2004, Clayton Kershaw was a junior at Highland Park High School in Highland Park, Texas, where he formed a battery with catcher Matthew Stafford, current quarterback and projected #1 pick in this weekend's NFL draft. Stafford recalled the fun times he had catching Kershaw in high school:
He was really awesome, really fun to catch because I could call anything and he’d be pretty good.
That pretty much describes how Russell Martin must feel behind the plate in 2009 when the tall Texan takes the hill. Kershaw leads the major leagues -- after two starts, mind you -- in fewest hits per nine innings (2.3) and most strikeouts per nine innings (14.3).
By contrast, Russ Ortiz was a 30-year old veteran starting pitcher on December 10, 2004, when he inked a four-year, $33 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Since signing that contract, Ortiz has played for four different teams and put up the following numbers:
If one were to plot the two baseball careers of Russ Ortiz and Clayton Kershaw on a graph, it might look something like this:
Tonight, their two paths cross at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The Dodgers are trying to extend their winning streak to nine games, and I'm not sure what Xeifrank's Dodger Sims website will list the odds at, but I'm going to protest if it's anything less than 90%.
Be sure to get your Game Score Guess in for the final score of the game and the winning pitcher before the 5:05pm start.
The game, called by Eric Collins and Steve Lyons, will be on KCAL.