Josh Hamilton is a fantastic baseball player who overcame serious drug addiction and whose body takes a greater physical beating than most non-catchers out there both by chance and by virtue of the way he plays the game. But by all means, let’s start calling him a big sissy.
Jean Jacques Taylor of ESPN Dallas wrote a column today saying Hamilton lacks “mental toughness” because he left yesterday’s Rangers-Angels game with a sinus headache. Earlier today Jon Heyman tweeted that Hamilton won’t get MVP votes because of his headache.
Not mentioned in Taylor or Heyman’s baloney is the fact that Hamilton was suffering from vision problems as well, suggesting that this was more migraine than sinus headache.
But never mind that. Big tough baseball writers have decided that a guy who has hit home runs in postseason play despite playing with a frayed groin is some sort of sissy simply because he’d be unable to see a ball coming at him at 95 miles per hour.
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.