With Joe Girardi staying in New York, the other managerial job openings move to the fore. Hard to say who goes where — I’m personally anticipating a Jim Riggleman bidding war between the Reds, Cubs and Nats, none of which can quit him — but at least one guy has an idea of where he wants to go. From Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post:
Longtime manager Dusty Baker, whom the Reds fired late last week, contacted General Manager Mike Rizzo through his agent to inform the Nationals he is interested in the job. Baker said no interview has been schedule, and it is not clear if the Nationals have reciprocal interest in him.
Baker confirmed to Kilgore that he reached out and is interested.
Man, I dunno. One of the things that seems kinda clear from Washington is that Mike Rizzo really had his fill of a well-established veteran manager who cuts a large figure in the media. No, Dusty isn’t Davey Johnson, but the idea that the reporters are going to come by every day to hear what he has to say rather than report the Nationals company line is the kind of dynamic one gets the sense that Rizzo wants to move away from. Better to get more of a company man like a Randy Knorr or a less-experienced guy like Matt Williams who won’t upstage the front office.
I obviously could be wrong about that. It’s just a vibe I get from reading all manner of stories about Rizzo, Johnson and the Nats. Either way, I’d be kind of surprised if they went after Dusty Baker.
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.