Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Decision to Hold Back Kershaw...Demoralizing

How many of you woke up this morning feeling fairly good about the Dodgers chances?  Here they were, series tied 1-1 and with their ace about to face an unimpressive foe in Barry Zito.  It seemed too good to be true.  The lead would be reduced to 3 1/2 games by days end and the Giants would be heading to Colorado, where they always have a tough time with the Rockies.

Joe Blanton, after giving up a two-run double to former teammate Hunter Pence int he first inning.

I was feeling pretty good about things until about 3:00 pm this afternoon when I spotted tweets that notified the world of Kershaw’s hip flexor injury.  Things went downhill from there.  It almost seems that the Dodger lineup gave up too.

Barry Zito is beatable.  His fastball sits at 83 MPH and sometimes lower.  His breaking stuff isn’t quite as effective as it used to be and there isn’’t a discernable difference between his fastball and his breaking stuff when it comes to velocity.  Yet, the Dodgers couldn’t hit this guy.  Hanley Ramirez inexplicably watched called third strikes cross the plate on his fastballs that were completely hittable. 

It was a pathetic offensive performance.  It is what we have seen now for a couple of weeks since trades turned the Dodger lineup inside out.  It is embarrassing.  It has been discussed on Dodger blogs ad nauseum.  This Dodger team can’t hit.  This Dodger team leaves runners in scoring position like no other team.

The season has 21 games left.  the Dodgers are six back in the loss column to San Francisco.  They are a game and a half behind St. Louis for the wild card spot.  Everyone seemed to understand the urgency of winning tonight’s game except the Dodgers.

Worst of all.  Clayton Kershaw wanted to go.  He said he was well enough to pitch.  He tested his hip before the game, running in the outfield and pitching from the mound.  He pronounced himself fine and ready.  It was Dodger management that decided to hold him back.  I’m not sure how Kershaw would have helped the offense, but we know that he would have thrown up a bunch of goose eggs on the score board.  The man has an 0.66 ERA at AT&T Park for heaven’s sake.  For all intents and purposes, when Frisco put up 2 runs in the first inning, we all knew deep in the back of our minds that we were in deep trouble.

The Dodgers medical staff and management claim that they know what’s best for their ace.  But OUCH!  This was the most important game of the year.  I’m sure it was an agonizing decision.  Let’s hope that it was a wise move.  At the moment, it doesn’t look good.

A stat to ponder:  In this three game set over the weekend, the Dodgers were 1 for 22 with men in scoring position and they left 27 runners on base.  That is about as bad as you can get.

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