Could you ask for a better pitching matchup late in the baseball season? Cy Young candidate (and probably frontrunner) Clayton Kershaw against two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum. Both are dominant young pitchers, Kershaw a lefty and Lincecum a righty, both are strikeout specialists with consistanty low ERA’s. I’ve always been a bigger fan of a great pitching duel than I have of an offensive slugfest so this game looks to be good.
It’s sad that Matt Kemp is having such a good season on such an obsolete team. I don’t quite understand why Kershaw gets to be in the running for Cy Young but Kemp is barely talked about when it comes to Most Valuable Player. His stats show that he’s more than qualified for the MVP award yet names like Braun and Fielder are the two you hear most. I can’t even think of anyone else who deserves the award at this point. Pujols hasn’t had a Pujols-like year so he isn’t in there, Dan Uggla has been led the Braves to the top spot in the Wild Card, Ryan Howard is probably in there. But Kemp is having such a spectacular year that I hope he at least gets one first-place vote, you know?
On the Giants’ side it’s been a struggle for them since the beginning of the year. They lost Posey almost immediately after the season started and the offense hasn’t quite been there. Right now they sit at four games back in the Wild Card, good for third place, and a whole a game behind the Cardinals. Guys like Ross and Torres haven’t quite been what they were last season (Ross was a special case and had a year that you can neither project nor expect to be repeated) and additions like Orlando Cabrera and Carlos Beltran have done all they can to keep the Giants in the running for the Wild Card. As of late the starting pitching has really picked up and the kids they have on the staff have been dealing like they did last year, which I think gives them a bit of an edge over the Cardinals and the Braves in the Wild Card.
The Giants probably won’t make up four games with eight left to play but you can at least hope. As I mentioned the other day, though, Chris Carpenter has been pretty good for the Cardinals down the stretch.
I’ll be Tweeting throughout this game – and the rest of the season as well as into the playoffs – so if you don’t already follow me there’s a link in the right column to my feed.