It's All Relative for Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers
Relativity's a bitch. Not only did it demolish Isaac Newton's theory of mechanics that held strong for two centuries, it is also skewing how one views Clayton Kershaw.
It's easy to view Kershaw's last several performances and say that he's been struggling this season.
If you're calculating, that's a 4.39 ERA in those four starts.
I'm not going to lie and say that his pitching line against the Chicago White Sox of four earned runs in six innings on eight hits and seven strikeouts was fabulous. It wasn't.
But let's get some perspective on this.
The general principle of relativity states that all systems of reference are equivalent with respect to the formulation of the fundamental laws of physics (Chrisian Møller, The Theory of Relativity, p. 220). In other words, the laws of physics are the same in all admissible frames of reference.
For example: Person A is standing on a train platform, and Person B is standing on the train going 30 mph. According to Person A and anyone else standing on the train platform, Person B is moving at 30 mph. According to Person B and anyone else standing on the train, Person B is not moving. Two different frames of references, two different results.
(I fully admit that this is a very basic explanation of relativity, but I don't want to confuse people who are not well versed in Einstein and Planck and all those eggheads from the early 20th century.)
Getting back to Kershaw, yes he's been struggling. He's now given up at least three earned runs in four consecutive games. Columns and game stories are all going to be written about why he's not effective anymore. Fans on Twitter will start getting worked up into a mouth-frothing frenzy over this.
But Kershaw now has a 2.86 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched.) It's not Cy Young Award standard, but it's still pretty damn good.
Kershaw himself chalked it up to not being effective.
"I feel fine," Kershaw asserted. "I just made a lot of mistakes tonight. Just got everybody 0-2 and couldn't put anybody away. Just no execution."
He won't admit to letting the plantar fasciitis in his left heel bother him, obstinately using one-word answers to negatively answer the line of questioning. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt didn't seem too worried about it.
"I don't see it changing his mechanics or delivery," Honeycutt explained. "It's the same. But to say there's not a pitch or sometime during the game he feels something, I can only go by what he's telling me."
However Honeycutt did concede one point: "If you've got pain somewhere, obviously it'll probably going to affect something else."
We'll see if Kershaw's foot affects him in future starts.
In the frame of reference of a Cy Young season, Kershaw is awful. But in the frame of reference of a very good pitcher's season, Kershaw if perfectly fine.
"At the end of the day, we end up getting the win tonight," Dodger manger Don Mattingly said.
Yes. Somehow the Dodgers pulled yet another rabbit out of the hat to get the 7-6 win over the White Sox despite trailing 5-1 in the sixth inning. Which is where it started to fall apart for Sox starter Chris Sale.
It started with Jerry Hairston, Jr. getting a walk, a single by A.J. Ellis and an RBI double by Juan Uribe. That was when the fireworks crowd of 40,432 got the first hint of home.
They wouldn't be disappointed by Tony Gwynn, Jr.'s strikeout. It was like they knew Ivan De Jesus was going to single home another run, which he did to make it a 5-3 game.
It all could have derailed on one of the more questionable calls: Dee Gordon laying down a bunt. The bunt sailed up into the air in to the right side of the infield where first baseman Paul Konerko bobbled the ball which happened to land in the glove of second baseman Gordon Beckham.
It certainly looked like the rally would be killed right there especially with Elian Herrera coming to the plate having struck out in his previous two at-bats. White Sox manager Robin Ventura yanked Sale in favor of Jesse Crain, and Herrera responded with a two-run double to tie the game.
"Before is before," Herrera said about his mindset. "The present is what I need to do."
Herrera scored the go-ahead run on Juan Rivera's single.
Alex Rios tied the game in the eighth inning off of Ronald Belisario, his second home run of the game, but a wild pitch by Matt Thornton allowed James Loney to score the winning run.
So in the Dodger fans' frame of reference, this game was specatular. In the White Sox frame of reference, not so much.
Relativity is a bitch.
Three Stars: (as voted by me)
1. Elian Herrera: 2-for-5, 2 doubles, 3 RBI, 2 strikeouts
2. Alex Rios: 3-for-4, 1 double, 2 home runs, 2 RBI
3. Adam Dunn: 1-for-3, 1 walk, 1 home run, 1 strikeout, 2 RBI