I don’t know why I read Lupica, but I do. I suppose there’s no helping me and that I get everything I deserve. Today’s is fun, though. It’s basically a scene-setter, focusing on A-Rod battling his former team, the Texas Rangers.
What makes it fun? The way in which Lupica tries to paint A-Rod as one of the people who “sent the Rangers into bankruptcy,” before nothing that, well, he wasn’t the only one [note: A-Rod has zero responsibility for that; if Tom Hicks offered you that crazy money, you’d take it too and if Tom Hicks hadn’t otherwise mismanaged his affairs the Rangers could have afforded it]. The way that Lupica feels it necessary to reference A-Rod’s postseason woes before mentioning that, actually, he’s been outrageously clutch in recent years. You can tell that he’s disappointed that he can’t write this up as “Greedy A-Rod seeks redemption.” Despite the fact that he’s already won rings and MVPs and, for whatever quirks and issues he has, has been a fantastic baseball player who has now played longer in New York than he did anywhere else. Query: is he even a True Yankee yet?
Whatever. I hate storylines. I hate the manufacturing of interpersonal drama. It’s baseball. What’s so hard about looking at this series in those terms?
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.