Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News has an interesting story about how the Rangers nearly ended up with Tim Lincecum.
Texas had the 12th overall pick in Jon Daniels’ first draft as general manager back in 2006 and “had identified the diminutive, hard-throwing right-hander from Washington as the club’s No. 1 target.”
According to Daniels the Rangers felt pretty confident that Lincecum would go undrafted through at least the first nine picks, but worried that the Giants would select him at No. 10 overall. San Francisco did end up selecting Lincecum, but in announcing the pick left out one of the zeroes on his official “draft number.”
“When the Giants started to call the number and there was no zero and I thought we got him,” Daniels told Grant. “Then they called the name. I remember asking our guys if we could have the pick nullified for not calling the zero. Apparently, you didn’t need to call the zero in the draft number.”
And so the Giants picked Lincecum at No. 10, the Diamondbacks selected Max Scherzer at No. 11, and the Rangers ended up with Kasey Kiker at No. 12. Lincecum has won back-to-back Cy Young awards and will start Game 1 tonight opposite Rangers ace Cliff Lee, while Kiker spent this season posting a 7.40 ERA at Double-A.
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.