Kershaw’s Greatest Strength is His Greatest Weakness

I have talked about this before and I will keep talking until someone convinces Clayton Kershaw that change is good.  Clayton is still an elite pitcher… maybe the best pitcher in baseball… especially if he would not be so predictable. Hitters know he wants that first pitch strike and they are ready – especially in the Playoffs.

Washington was jumping on his first pitch in the first inning and most of the game.  I wonder if it has ever occurred to Clayton that he could throw a ball on the first pitch and they would swing anyway?  I am not suggesting that he just throw balls – I am suggesting that his greatest strength:  HIS ABILITY AND PROCLIVITY TO THROW STRIKES, is also his greatest weakness.  In fact, when his velocity was higher, he could get away with it much more easily.

Clayton has to change or he is going to lose a lot of games to pitchers like Max Scherzer. Clayton is a creature of habit, but if he doesn’t change his “in game habits and patterns” it is going to be a long season.  We’ve seen what happens in the post-season.  I don’t believe he chokes or implodes – I believe that he becomes predictable and hittable.  He aslo needs to develop a killer change-up. Clayton, put in a call to Greg Maddux.  The change-up made his career! Clayton needs to become unpredictable!

I am not going to belabor this.  He just needs to adapt.  Nuff said!  Now that I have said that, a team is not going to win many games when they score only 2 runs and strand runners at 3B with no outs.  If the pieces aren’t getting the job done, CHANGE THE PIECES.

Dodger Notes

  • Justin Turner is making progress and hitting off a tee.  The first week of May is looking more likely.
  • Will Walker Buehler get the call Monday, or will it be Stripling or Stewart?  My vote is for Buehler.  Stripling needs to stay in the pen and Stewart needs to go there (regardless of how he is pitching as a starter in AAA – he’s not an MLB starter – I said it, I meant it and I’m here to represent it.)
  • Use all the stats you want (and they ain’t good), but Joc does not pass the eye test right now and neither does Kike! This is a bottom-line business.

Pacer Notes

I was at the Pacer Cavs game last night and it was the worst officiated game I have ever seen.  The Pacers played badly in the first half and were down 17 before coming back to win by two, but it’s obvious the NBA wants Le Bron to move to the second round.  Calls that were blatantly “hand in the chest of the defensive player” which should have been offensive fouls were called defensive fouls and there were more than 10! It was horrible.  Talk about a conspiracy.  The NBA Sucks!

Clayton Kershaw Photo credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

 

MINOR LEAGUE REPORT by AlwaysCompete

OKC – 6-3 Win over the Round Rock Express (Rangers)

On Thursday, Justin De Fratus was promoted to AAA to start, and AA started Frank Duncan in his place.  De Fratus was needed because the Dodgers released or traded 2 members of the OKC starting rotation, Alec Asher and Zach Neal.  Duncan was released by the DBacks earlier in the month.  But that was only 1 starter, and they needed two.  Yesterday, the Dodgers completed a trade with the DBacks for 27 year old RHP, Tyler Pill, for that proverbial PTBNL, or cash.

Pill started for OKC and pitched 3 shutout innings, giving up 1 hit and 2 walks, with 2 K’s.  Daniel Corcino followed with 2.0 IP surrendering 2 runs on 1 hit, but allowed 4 walks and only 1 K.  CC Lee pitched the next 1.1 inning and allowed the third run on a HR.  Edward Paredes, Daniel Hudson, and Brian Schlitter finished the final 2.1 innings without allowing a baserunner.  Schlitter picked up his 2nd consecutive save, and 3rd on the season.

Tim Locastro went 2-4 with his 3rd double.  His OPS is now at 1.090 to lead the team.  Donovan Solano, Jake Peter, and Breyvic Valera each had a two-hit night.  Alex Verdugo had a two-run RBI single.

The win pushes the OKC Dodgers record to 12-2.

 

Tulsa – 4-1 Loss to the Northwest Arkansas Travelers (Royals)

After Devin Smeltzer surrendered 1 run in .2 innings, and Karch Kowalcyk allowed 3 (1 earned) run in his 2.0 innings, the pitching settled down.  Brian Moran, Dylan Baker, and Josh Sborz finished the final 5.1 innings without allowing a run on only 1 hit.  They combined for 0 walks and 6 K’s.  The 2 unearned runs were due to Drew Jackson’s 7th error on the season.

Yusniel Diaz added to his debut on Thursday with a 2-4 night.  Jacob Scavuzzo hit his 2nd HR to account for the sole run for the Drillers.  DJ Peters had another 0-2 night but got two more walks.  He is 0-4 with 6 walks over the last two games.  Getting better plate discipline???

 

RC – 7-5 Win over the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres)

Dean Kremer started and went a strong 5.0 IP.  He surrendered 1 run on 5 hits and no free passes.  He registered 8 K’s.  Imani Abdullah pitched a scoreless 6th inning with 2 K’s and 1 hit.  Sven Schuller surrendered 3 runs (1 earned), and Ryan Moseley allowed a HR in the 9th to complete the scoring for the Storm.

The Quakes had 13 hits for their 7 runs.  Logan Landon had a 3-5 night with 2 doubles, and Jeren Kendall had a 2-4 night also with 2 doubles.  Landon now has 4 doubles and Kendall 5 doubles on the season.  Donovan Casey and Cristian Santana each had two hits and hit their 1st HR of the season. Catcher Steve Berman also had a 2 hit night.  After Schuller was tagged with his 3rd blown save, he got credit for the win after the Quakes scored 5 in the bottom of the 8th to get the win.

 

Great Lakes – 5-4 Loss to the West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers)

There were not many highlights in this game.  Devin Hemmerich allowed a walk, triple, and sacrifice fly in the 8th allowing the 2 runs and giving the Whitecaps the win.  One bright spot was Zach Pop finally pitched as he was expected to.  After three lackluster performances, Pop pitched 2.2 hitless and scoreless innings, striking out 6 of the 8 batters he faced.  That’s what we were hoping for.

Offensively, the sole multi hit game belonged to 1B, Nick Yarnall.  Brandon Montgomery had a 2 RBI single.

 

Starting Pitchers:

OKC – Guillermo Moscoso

Tulsa – Yadier Alvarez

RC – Andrew Sopko

Great Lakes – Riley Ottesen

 

Posted by Mark Timmons

We started LA Dodger Talk in 2001. This site is about giving another perspective outside of the average day-to-day reporting. We don't do game recaps or such things -- lots of sites do that well. I value sabermetrics, but don't think they are the "end-all-be-all.". This is where you should start your day as a Dodger Fan. Welcome! We'd like to hear your voice.

This article has 22 Comments

  1. Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher on the planet that many would sit to Madison Bumgarner in game 7 of a World Series. Do the Dodgers re-sign him? I am with you Mark on contemplating this, love him but man, every time they talk about this guy as the best pitcher ever, I cringe, it’s skewed and getting old. Is it a new time for a new face of the franchise? One that actually lives up to the hype when it counts?

  2. i have never thought of Kershaw as cagey, wiley or smart like a fox. I thought Maddux was and I think Greinke is becoming that. I don’t think Kershaw adapts well. He has a plan and he just sticks to it, no matter what. It has worked for him in the past but not so much now. It doesn’t look like he much of a fastball this season. I don’t think he will be opting out at the end of the year.

  3. Just like hitters are stubborn and do not make changes, or adapt, so are pitchers. Change acceptance is not in many people’s DNA. Maybe 22 adapts or maybe he doesn’t. I know that it is heresy, but many people believe that Scherzer is now the best pitcher in MLB and it is hard to argue. Okay so Clayton is #2. He is still an elite pitcher and I would not want to go into the playoffs without him, even with his record in big games in the playoffs.
    .
    Yes his fastball is losing velocity, but it is his slider that makes him lethal. Without it, he becomes mortal, and last night his slider was not like it was against the DBacks. He did not walk anyone for his third straight game, and to Mark’s point he has surrendered more HR’s (4) than walks (3) this season. He is always around the plate, and if the slider is not working right, the batter has a chance with guessing (predicting) where the pitch will be. He prides himself on no walks. And again to Mark’s point, it is his strength and weakness. His K/BB ratio this year is 35 to 3. A batter always knows that Clayton is going to be near the zone.
    .
    Who comes up for the Tuesday game? Guillermo Moscoso starts for OKC today to put the rotation back one day. Currently,Buehler is scheduled to start on Sunday and Banuelos on Monday. Tuesday would be Stewart, but it is an off-day,so if I were a betting person, I would put money on Stewart. If Buehler does not start tomorrow, then there will be a question. The bigger question might be, when Stewart or Buehler is recalled, who goes? Liberatore came up when Hill went on the DL, but he is pitching great right now. Does FAZ release Font or send down Alexander or Liberatore?
    .
    Also in my minor league report, I noted that Tim Locastro, who happens to hit leadoff, and has great speed, is hitting .391 and OPSing 1.091 (as a leadoff guy). Is it time to see what Locastro can do at the ML level. We are not seeing any power out of Kike’ so his big plus is
    minimized. Joc is not going anywhere until Toles is back and shows the hammy is okay. Then maybe there will be a change.

    1. AC

      Every time I look at the boxscore, it seems like Locastro has another multi hit, game.

      I think I would bat Locastro in the lead off position, over Toles.

      Only because, I think Toles is a pretty good hitter, when runners are in scoring position, and we need more hitters that excell, in those situations.

      But it also seems like almost every player on our AAA team, is hitting, and it is good to see, that Verdugo has shown more power, early in the season, too.

      Just like I said in spring training, it looks like almost everyone of our players at AAA, have worked hard in the off season, to improve their game.

  4. Mark you and others have said the same thing about Kershaw in the past and nothing has changed, I hope he starts listing and makes some changes because the good teams and hitters have figured out his patterns.”I was ready to hit the first pitch,” Zimmerman said. ”The deeper you go into at-bats with him, the harder it gets.” The hitters are learning, time for Kershaw to adjust.

  5. I totally agree that Kershaw has become predictable, too often falls in love with his fastball, and needs to develop a usable change. Watching Scherzer last night, it appears that he has adjusted to decreased velocity with the development of an effective change. Heck, what made Pedro Martinez great was a great change to complement his fastball, even before he bagan to lose velocity. Lest we forget, it was the change that lifted Gagne to the heights that he achieved.

    I don’t gave a preference on who the Dodgers bring up to replace Hill. I suspect the decision is based on current performance, and also long term thinking.

    As for what hitter or hitters the Dodgers should bring up, some of that might be influenced on talks the Dodgers are having with other teams, which could involve players in their minor league system, or players like Joc or Kike’, currently active on the 25-man. Or they may simply have a timetable, and are unwilling to bring up certain players before a given date.

  6. Joc bats 5th again, giving Bellinger no protection. I’ve official thrown myself off the Doc bandwagon.

    1. Rudy

      I checked Puig’s, Kemp’s, Grandal’s, and Joc’s numbers against Strasberg, in the last three years.

      And Kemp by far, has the best numbers against Strasberg, in the last three years.

      Kemp has three doubles, and he hit a HR off Strasberg, just last year.

      Both Puig and Grandal’s Numbers, are about the same, but their numbers, are nothing special.

      And Joc doesn’t have a single hit off Strasberg, in the last three years, in fact, Joc has struck out three times, in five at bats, against Strasberg.

      I would hit Kemp third in this game.

      Because really, both Grandal and Joc, don’t give Cody a lot of protection, because Grandal is not the same hitter, in the clutch.

      And I am not a Grandal hater, I am just being truthful.

      Why would a pitcher pitch to Cody, when a pitcher can pitch to Joc , or Grandal?

  7. The sluggish start this year is similar to last year. Then Cody was called up he jump started the offense. Who will be this year’s Bellinger?

  8. Maybe someone will come up and jumpstart the Dodgers, or maybe the addition of JT off the DL will do the trick. Or maybe the little things that have contributed to the anemic start will be transformed into little things that propel the team forward.

    I still believe that we’re never as bad as we are at our worst, nor as good as we are at our best.

    And cliche as it is, it really is a LONG season. There are still 144 games to go. Lots of time to make a 4 game deficit in the loss column become a distant memory.

  9. IMO, you bet on the come and go with Buehler and hope for a Fernando moment…
    Not saying he’s Freddy, but what a spark it would bring… With JT still a long way off (now it’s reported he’s not hitting off a tee) why the hell not???
    Only thing that would pee on my parade is that the kid has too many days off before Tuesday…

  10. I think I saw Joc flip off half this board (me included) during his job around the bases there!

    1. As he inches towards the Mendoza line. Good for him and Keekay. They needed it.
      *
      Who is this Ryu kid?

        1. Bobby

          I am really not surprised with Ryu, he looks like the Ryu before he got hurt.

          His curve is breaking a lot more now, too.

          We all know he can pitch.

          I am very happy for Ryu!

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