Clayton Kershaw pitched the Dodgers past the Giants on Sunday afternoon, helping extend his club’s NL West lead to three games. The lefty went eight innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out nine. Kershaw now owns a 19-3 record with a 1.70 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, and a 219/28 K/BB ratio.
Kershaw is a lock for the National League Cy Young award, but teammate and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez thinks Kershaw is the obvious choice for NL MVP as well:
Kershaw is the major league leader in Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference, which hasn’t yet been updated for today’s action. Kershaw’s 7.7 WAR narrowly edges Mike Trout’s 7.6 and is well ahead of Jason Heyward’s 6.5, who has the second-highest WAR in the National League. Per FanGraphs (which also won’t update until the morning), Kershaw’s 6.3 WAR edges out Jonathan Lucroy’s 6.0.
What we’re witnessing from Kershaw is the best starting pitching season since Roger Clemens in 2005 and Pedro Martinez circa 1997-2003.
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.
Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.
As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.
Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.
The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”