A couple of observations that are not mutually-exclusive:
- Yasiel Puig looks a lot leaner this year and, in the first three games of his I’ve watched, his bat looks faster; and
- Jered Weaver couldn’t throw a baseball through wet cardboard.
Those two things taken together have led to Puig hitting two two-run homers in the first four innings of their afternoon tilt with the San Diego Padres.
The first one came in the bottom of the second with Puig first-pitch swinging on an 85 m.p.h. fastball. That went way the heck out to left field. The second came in the bottom of the fourth on a 2-0 breaking ball that hung like wash on a line, registering 78 m.p.h. on the gun. Puig shot that one out to left as well.
I’m not gonna say too mashed taters off of Jered Weaver means Puig is back to 2013 form, but he hit a homer last night too and is 5-for-11 with two walks so far. And, like I said, the bat looks quick and his body looks lean.
If he is back to top form, the Dodgers are gonna be amazingly hard to beat in the NL West.
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.