Clayton Kershaw has 20 wins this year. Five of them have come against the arch-rival Giants. Four of them have come when Tim Lincecum was going for San Francisco. In short, he has crushed his enemies, has seen them driven before him, and has heard the lamentation of their women.
Last night was no different. He allowed one run on six hits over seven and a third. He has done his fair share to stay in — and maybe take a slight lead — in the three-man race for the NL Cy Young award. Yes, his 2.27 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 242/53 K/BB ratio in 226 innings keeps him very close to Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, but his 20 wins on a weak team may give voters something to grab onto in the near-impossible task of differentiating these guys.
As for Lincecum, he has had quite a bad bit of luck this year. Against Kershaw this season he has an 0-3 record, but a 1.24 ERA. Someone may look at his 13-13 record and ask “what’s wrong with Timmy,” but the first thing that needs to be said about that is that Lincecum got zero or one run of support in 11 of those losses. Overall he’s been a better pitcher this year than he was last year.
The wins just tell a different story. One that says more about the Giants’ offense — and a man named Kershaw — than they do about Lincecum himself.
Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.
Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.
The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.
James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.
And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:
“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”
“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.
“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.