Can’t you maybe find room for both?

15 Comments

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Gelb, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel spontaneously decided to address his team’s leadoff situation on Monday afternoon.

“A month ago when we’re talking about getting [Michael] Bourn for a leadoff hitter, [Jimmy] Rollins got more production,” Manuel said. “Bourn might have a little higher average, but Rollins has more production. So which one would you rather have in your leadoff hole?”

Well, let’s see. Bourn is hitting .276/.348/.394 with 40 steals in 52 attempts this season. Rollins is hitting .250/.316/.427 with 30 steals in 35 attempts.

Personally, I think I’d choose Bourn despite the extra outs on the basepaths. But Manuel is right; Rollins has been about as effective in the leadoff spot this year. Largely because he has 23 homers to Bourn’s nine. But it also helps that he’s topped his previous career high with 62 walks.

Also, for what it’s worth, Rollins has scored 102 of the Phillies’ 679 runs this year. Bourn has scored 96 of the Braves’ 694 runs.

But the real question here is why does it need to be either/or? The Phillies might not be better off with Bourn instead of Rollins, but they’d certainly be better off with Bourn and Rollins. Rollins is still a great basestealer, but the rest of his line screams No. 5 or No. 6 hitter. He could still be pretty valuable batting behind Ryan Howard in the Phillies’ order.

I’ve already gone on record as saying Bourn shouldn’t be the Phillies’ top target in free agency this winter. But already having a leadoff man shouldn’t be a justification for not pursuing him.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

Getty Images
7 Comments

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.