Did you all have a good Chirstmas? I hope so. Hope you got what you wanted.
Anyway, the week between Christmas and New Years is the deadest of the dead in baseball circles. The only thing you get a lot of are Hall of Fame columns because ballots are due by December 31. And they really are the gift that keeps on giving. Mostly because of stuff like this from Ron Chimelis, who has a Hall of Fame vote:
- “The Crime Dog is tied with Lou Gehrig in home runs with 493. Lou Gehrig!”
- “Tim Raines. My first instinct was to vote for Raines, who ranks fifth all-time in steals with 808. Unlike saves, steals have been been meaningful for 140 years. Raines had six straight 70-steal seasons … But if Raines gets in because he is fifth in steals, what about Vince Coleman, who is sixth? That’s why I talked myself out of it.”
I don’t think it requires being a super saber stat nerd to point out that comparing McGriff and Gehrig based on their home run totals and Raines and Coleman based on their stolen base totals is less than illuminating. Unless of course you believe that Ted Williams shouldn’t have made it because he had fewer hits than Johnny Damon.
I know. It’s gonna be a long week. Just drink lots of fluids and stuff. We’ll get through this. Together.
For the first time in major league history, both pitchers in a playoff game have struck out at least 11 batters, per MLB.com’s Paul Casella. Mets starter Jacob deGrom has pitched just a hair better than Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw overall. deGrom has blanked the Dodgers over six frames on five hits and a walk. Kershaw made one mistake, resulting in a solo home run to Daniel Murphy in the fourth inning. He’s allowed four hits and four walks total in 6 2/3 innings.
The last time opposing starters each struck out 10 in a post-season game was back in 1944 in Game 5 of the World Series when Mort Cooper of the St. Louis Cardinals struck out 12 and Denny Galehouse of the St. Louis Browns struck out 10.
Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer has already made a pair of mistakes in left field and he’s only four innings into the first game of the best-of-five NLDS against the Dodgers.
Leading off the second inning, Justin Turner sent a well-struck liner to Cuddyer which was quite catchable, but the ball clanked off of the veteran’s glove. Turner was credited with a double. Mets starter Jacob deGrom was able to work around the misplay, striking out Andre Ethier, A.J. Ellis, and Clayton Kershaw to close out the frame.
With two outs in the third inning, Corey Seager sent a fly ball down the left field line. Cuddyer took an inefficient route and the ball bounced about a foot inside the foul line, then into the stands, giving Seager a ground-rule double. To add insult to injury, Cuddyer ended up tumbling over the fence. deGrom, again, worked around Cuddyer’s mistake, striking out Adrian Gonzalez to end the inning.
Because he bats right-handed, Cuddyer got the start in left field over the left-handed-hitting rookie Michael Conforto against Kershaw, a southpaw. Conforto mustered only a .481 OPS against lefties this season compared to Cuddyer’s .698. Despite the batting disparity, one wonders how short a leash manager Terry Collins has on Cuddyer given his defense.
Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning, belting a solo home run to right field at Dodger Stadium off of starter Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw threw a 2-0, 94 MPH fastball and Murphy didn’t miss it.
Both teams’ starters are pitching quite well overall. Kershaw has allowed the one run on three hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Jacob deGrom started off the game with six consecutive strikeouts and has struck out seven total while blanking the Dodgers on three hits and a walk in three innings.
Kershaw doesn’t have the most impressive post-season track record, owning a career 5.12 ERA across eight starts and three relief appearances spanning 51 innings. Aside from the homer, the lefty appears to be putting that notion aside.