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Monday, June 22, 2009
Kershaw Brilliant In Seven: Dodgers 5, Angels 3
- Clayton Kershaw was brilliant as I've seen him this year, mastering the Angels throughout the game. The only point at which he faltered (bases loaded, nobody out in the fifth), he elicited a 1-2-3 double play off Bobby Abreu — the Angels' lone lefty in the lineup — to neutralize the threat.
- John Lackey will be getting a one-year deal next year with some other team not named the Angels. I think it was Matt Welch that first pointed this out, but Lackey had a 7.96 ERA following his Aug. 26 complete game against Oakland. There just doesn't seem to be any sign Lackey's returning to his old self; I say this with the caveat I haven't reviewed his velocity numbers much. Fangraphs claims he's cut way back on his curve, but I have to believe that's somewhat misleading because his breaking pitch has always been a slurve; the sudden decline in his "curve" numbers may indicate that he's more hittable when his slurve breaks straight up and down or nearly so. Today, he couldn't locate his breaking stuff to save his life, but God knows he kept trying long past the point of reason. Lackey's two-out blow-up homer to James Loney in the eighth wasn't just predictable; there was a certain inevitability to it.
- The late Angels' offensive renaissance is an NL illusion. The Dodgers have the best pitching in the division, and while they're only just better than the Giants, they're also the best pitching team in the league, too. (And of course, just to throw water on that assertion, the Giants swept the Rangers, so determinism isn't my long suit.) But given the Angels' history, it's hard to be anything but skeptical.
- The ninth was once again fun, thanks to another wobbly outing by Jonathan Broxton. The Angels didn't do too much, but Broxton continued to dodge and weave far more than I've been used to so far this year. A DL stint might be called for, and with the Dodgers having an eight game lead over the Giants and a bullpen full of tough relievers, it seems reasonable that getting Broxton 100% is a good idea.
Lackey got through 6 innings only giving up 1 run with 5 strikeouts. He actually looked really good at points. Pretty much everyone at Halo's Heaven was clamoring for him to come out well before he gave up that homerun in the 8th. He's making progress to be sure, and his fastball lastnight was 92-93 which is fine for him.
As far as your assessment on the Dodger bullpen I Agree Rob. The effective late inning guys; Troncoso, Belisario, Broxton, Wade are being used a lot this year and it seems they are all beginning to show it a bit. Also Kuo was being used frequently and look at his current status. Maybe it's just me, but it's late in the east and I'm basing this comment on headlines I have been running into and not actually looking up their numbers. I love Torre but it's no secret he burns through relievers. What's disturbing as well is that these guys are starting to enter their prime.