Chris Jaffe predicts four Hall of Fame inductees

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There’s nothing else to do between now and Wednesday’s Hall of Fame announcement other than talk about the weather and I’m already sick of that, so let’s look at another Hall of Fame projection.

We’ve seen Bill Deane’s projection of Greg Maddux and no one else. We’ve been watching Repoz’s Gizmo tracking the public ballots. Now comes The Hardball Times’ Chris Jaffe, who each year projects the exact percentage of the vote each candidate gets. He’s pretty good at it. He’s made 96 individual candidate predictions since he started doing this and he has been within five percentage points 79 times. His margin for error is 3.5 percent.

This year he thinks four guys are getting above 75 percent — Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas and Craig Biggio. Biggio is only at 76% though, so he’s within Jaffe’s margin of error.

More than just the predictions, however, I think Jaffe’s column is interesting for the conversation of the factors which go into vote totals, ranging from the overall strength of the ballot to dynamics connected with how long each guy has been on the ballot and late-eligibility surges and whatnot. Good stuff.

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

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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.