Thursday, August 15, 2013

Dodgers Magic

It's been a month since our last post. So sad, but necessary. All the Biogenesis and Aroid talk from the past month has pushed me away from the computer. The horribly preachy sportswriting of others, the distraction of a new job, a vacation, and preparing for my fantasy football auction have all sapped the seamhead inspiration out of me. I have about three or four unfinished posts from this hiatus, some of them embarrassingly long and pointless. To spur creativity, let's take this chance to celebrate a three quick points on the remarkable Los Angeles Dodgers.

First, have you seen Yasiel Puig's throw from last night?

The beauty of baseball is often talked about with sweet swings, the angles of the diamond, balls caroming off the outfield walls, or an unforgettable pitcher's motion. For this fan, though, nothing is better than a great throw. It could be that my first "love" moment in the national pastime was watching Andre Dawson uncork laser throws during warmups at Wrigley Field. Bo Jackson, of course, was a sight. Vladimir Guerrero carried the torch after them, along with Ichiro Suzuki. Today, the jaw dropping cannon from right field belongs to Puig. Taking a closer look at the throw from last night is incredible because he doesn't even rotate his arm in a full circle. He simply cocks his arm up and back, like a catcher who's throwing the ball less than half the distance.

AP Photo / Mark J. Terrill
Second, Clayton Kershaw is pitching like a Hall of Famer, a first ballot Hall of Famer. He's 25-years old and has a 1.88 ERA. This will be his 5th consecutive season with an ERA under 2.92. Among qualified starters, only Greg Maddux and a juiced up Roger Clemens have had ERA's lower than 1.88 in the past 25 years. Not only is Clayton Kershaw a decent bet to win the Cy Young Award over Matt Harvey, he's a good bet to win the National League MVP.

Third, the Dodgers' bullpen is another strength. With Kenley Jansen, Paco Rodriguez, and J.P. Howell, they have three pitchers holding opponents to a sub-.200 batting average. Their closer, Jansen has an 87-to-9 strikeout-to-unintentional walk ratio. That's a lethal combination when you're also not giving up hits. Relying primarily on a dangerous Slider/Cutter repertoire, Paco Rodriguez has held opponents to a .147 batting average over 44 1/3 innings this year.

Dodger fans who have actually stayed to the end of their games are enjoying a historical run of success. We're not necessarily going all-in on expecting them to win the postseason crapshoot. The Braves, in particular, have similar success stories, with a young productive lineup, good starting pitching, and another fantastic relief corps.

Here's to enjoying the moment.

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