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.
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.