WEEI spoke with David Ortiz before last night’s game and he made it clear that he’s not participating in any more Home Run Derbys. Why? Not for the reason I thought (you can’t flip your bat and strut in the Home Run Derby). It’s because he’s old, man:
“If [Robinson Cano] asks me to do it? I wouldn’t do it. I’m done with that … I can’t do it no more. I can’t even do it in batting practice. Watch me in batting practice, I might lose a couple of balls but that’s it. I can’t do it. It wears me out. Wears me out. And you know the Home Run Derby can be taken lightly. You have to be young with a lot of energy.”
Sounds right and sensible. I get tired watching those guys do it. They take way, way more hacks in a Derby than anyone ever does in BP, and those hacks are obviously harder. The idea that used to hold in which the Home Run Derby destroys guys and changes their swing doesn’t have a ton of evidence behind it, but I’d be shocked if the players who participate in it aren’t totally wiped afterwards.
If I’m a Red Sox fan, I’m really happy that Papi wants no part of the Home Run Derby anymore.
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.