Defending Jose Bautista

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Over at IIATMS, Larry takes on the manner in which folks have been trying to, um, inject PEDs into the narrative surrounding Jose Bautista’s 50-home run season.  It’s a good read, with a premise worth thinking about: while we can predict a lot on baseball, the unpredictable can still happen.  It’s funny how people can acknowledge this generally while ignoring it in specific cases like Bautista’s.

I have no idea how Jose Bautista hit 50 home runs this year, but unlke Damian Cox at the Toronto Star and other writers who have tackled the subject, I do not think it is fair to accuse Bautista of PED use or to even “ask the question,” about it, which is just a passive-aggressive way to accuse. There is a testing regime in place right now that, unlike ten years ago, entitles players, I think, until the assumption that they are innocent until proven guilty.

And of course, I continue to wonder why none of the many, many people who excoriated blogger Jerod Morris for “asking the question” about Raul Ibanez last year ago are raising holy hell about the people doing it to Bautista, but that’s probably the subject of another rant.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.

Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.

This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.

Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.