Alex Gordon: "I'm going to dominate next year"

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Alex Gordon hasn’t done a whole lot since the Royals recalled him from the minors in mid-July, hitting .233/.323/.375 in 52 games, but he’s drawn some walks, shown some power, and most importantly is finally getting another chance to play regularly after destroying Triple-A pitching.
Gordon will turn 27 years old this winter, so the former college player of the year and No. 2 overall pick is rapidly approaching “put up or shut up” time given his .247/.330/.408 career line in 1,601 plate appearances as a big leaguer.
And he’s certainly talking a good game about his plans for 2011, telling Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that he’s “going to dominate next year.”
Here’s more from Gordon:

Not that this year is over, but I’m going to dominate next year. I’ve shown flashes, but something that’s bothered me is I haven’t been consistent. I show flashes, and then I go into a little bit of a slump that kind of erases what I did. I just need to figure out how to be consistent and put it all together throughout the year. I feel comfortable in left field. I was struggling at third [base], and it was taking too much out of me. My numbers aren’t where I want them to be. I’m not producing like I want to produce. But I’m feeling good out there, and I think it’s going to come around.

Gordon is never going to live up to the tremendous hype he had as a college star or top-ranked prospect, but I remain convinced that he can be a very solid big-league hitter. I’m not quite as confident about that happening in Kansas City, because the Royals sent him to the minors at age 26 and only recalled him when he put up ridiculous numbers for three months at Triple-A.
With that said, general manager Dayton Moore talked to Dutton about Gordon and indicated that perhaps they have a bit more faith in him than I believed:

I think Alex is going to have a great year next year. I really do. I think Alex is going to be a solid contributor. I’ll say this: You can win a championship with Alex Gordon on your club. We’re counting on him to be that type of guy when we’re ready to win.

I still think there’s a pretty good chance the Royals trade Gordon this offseason, but if he does remain in Kansas City at least it now sounds like he’ll do so as an everyday player in 2011. And after that, if Gordon fails to produce, then he sank on his own.

Clayton Kershaw struggles with control, walks six Marlins

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.

Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.

The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.