I know I mention this a couple of times a year and I know it makes me sound like a big freakin’ crank, but I’ll say it again anyway: most inside the park homers are lame.
Case in point: Eric Young had one last night in the Rockies-Dodgers game. Video here. The picture to the right says it all, though: it was an inside the parker by virtue of Matt Kemp misplaying the ball off the wall, which he allowed to dribble back into shallow center.
Most inside the park homers are like that. Either a misplay, or an outfielder falling down or something. Much like triple plays — which are often themselves the product of a mental error by a baserunner or happen by sheer dumb luck — I find inside the park home runs to be kinda boring and anti-climactic.
For exciting plays, give me clean triples, or runners scoring from either first or second base on close plays. Defensively, give me an around-the-horn double play or a laser throw from an outfielder.
And get off my lawn.
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.