Clayton Kershaw and LAD
The Clayton Kershaw 10 pitch AB to Charlie Blackmon led to an infield hit (56.5 MPH) against the shift. A second infield hit (32.7 MPH) by Brendan Rogers put runners on 1st and 2nd, but with 2 out. Get José Iglesias, and head back to the dugout. Iglesias hits the hardest ball up to that point (91.0 MPH) directly to Max Muncy who booted it for an error. Randal Grichuk hit a hard single to RF that scored Brendan Rodgers, but Grichuk was thrown out by another Mookie Betts assist, his 7th. It started like it had all of the makings of another game from Hell for the left.
Kershaw got through 5 innings. 2 runs, both unearned. Very few pitchers lose it as quick as Kershaw, and in the 6th, four straight hard hit balls. A triple by Grichuk scores 2, and on the next pitch, Elias Díaz singled home Grichuk. 4 hard hits on 7 pitches. Actually the out was hit 92.4 MPH. Kershaw is removed for Caleb Ferguson who induces a 6-4-3 DP.
That is back to back rough outings from Kershaw after his gem against LAA. And with back to back poor outings from Tony Gonsolin, is there reason for concern? Gonsolin has a chance to get back on track on Sunday. I think it is more the Coors effect for Kershaw. He never pitches well in that park. So I am going to go with that.
What Are The Rockies Doing?
I am guessing that Daniel Bard did not want to go anywhere else. He is getting a 2 year extension worth $19MM. But the Rockies are not going to be anywhere close to being a contender in ‘23 or ’24. The Rockies have the 24th rated farm system, with only one top 100 prospect (OF Zac Veen #36). The bulk of their prospects were drafted in ‘19, ‘20, and ‘21. Charlie Blackmon has a player option (he is sure to opt into) for 2023. After that???
Could the Rockies have helped their fledgling farm system by trading Bard? How about C.J. Cron or Jose Iglesias or Randall Grichuk? Maybe they could put those players on the market and to get a top pitching prospect in return.
The Rockies gave Nolan Arenado away and paid St. Louis to boot. They did not trade Jon Gray or Trevor Story when they could have last year. Instead they parlayed those two FA into 2 OF draft picks. #31 Sterlin Thompson (Florida) and #38 Jordan Beck (Tennessee). Both 21. They did draft a pitcher in the first round (#10). Six more from Round 2 – round 10. They drafted 16 pitchers overall.
Chad Kuhl is their best starting pitcher and he is a FA. They did extend Antonio Senzatela and Kyle Freeland. I am not sure I understand what the Rockies management is doing, but they are not my favorite team, so I really hope they continue to flounder.
More thoughts on Chris Martin
I am glad for Zach McKinstry. Right now that is my favorite part of this trade. Outside of 2020, Chris Martin has not been a very good pitcher. But I am keeping an open mind after reading an excellent article from Jim Bowden on what the trade deadline is like for GMs. He wrote the following:
“When I was with the Reds in 1997, we made sure right-handed minor-league reliever Danny Graves was included in the John Smiley trade with Cleveland based on the recommendation of one of our top evaluators, Jack McKeon. A lot of the scouting reports on Graves weren’t glowing, and mentioned an average fastball with sink. However, McKeon loved his competitiveness, intangibles and that he wasn’t afraid to pitch inside and go right at hitters. Graves ended up with 182 career saves and made two All-Star teams. He had a 5.54 ERA and below-average scouting grades when we traded for him. Great scouting by McKeon made that trade for the Reds.”
I remember when Martin was traded to Atlanta from Texas in 2019, the Dodgers were very much interested at that time. They were also rumored to be extremely interested when he was a FA after the 2019 season. So maybe somebody in the organization has convinced management to take a chance.
Bowden went on to write:
“The research, development, science and technology department uses science and new technologies to further improve the evaluation processes and gain a competitive edge. For example, R&D groups, working in concert with the analytics department, have recently helped teams change pitchers’ repertoires and pitch usages, leading to improved performance and increasing the pitchers’ value. When an organization considers trading for a pitcher, R&D might recommend the acquisition and propose something like this: If we increase his breaking ball usage by 20 percent and correspondingly decrease his fastball usage, his ERA could be lowered from 3.92 to 2.87. Or if the pitcher can change his hip turn or lengthen his front leg plant, we can add 3 to 4 mph to his fastball. For a hitter, they might recommend moving his hands up at the start of his swing or rotating his hands by a certain amount to improve bat speed and contact, which could lead to better results.”
The Dodgers R&D is second to none, so maybe they have uncovered something on him.
Or maybe he is just another Jake Reed. Or some of the other AF RP acquisitions:
- Bud Norris
- Zac Rosscup
- Nick Tepesch
- Casey Fien
- Zach Neal
- John Axford
- JT Chargois
- Casey Sadler
- Erik Goeddel
- Chris Hatcher
- Fabio Castillo
As I said, I will keep an open mind, all the while hoping that ZMac becomes a Wrigley favorite.
Trade Deadline Notes
There is now 2.5 days before the end of the deadline. There are no rumors involving the Dodgers that are perceptible.