Clayton Kershaw fired his first career no-hitter Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies.
I was able to watch him pitch the last three innings, and you will never see a pitcher with more dominant stuff. He struck out 15 of the 28 batters he faced in this game. His curveball was unhittable.
His performance reminded me of just how difficult it is to throw a perfect game. Kershaw did nothing wrong in this game. He didn't give up any hits. He didn't walk anybody. He didn't hit a batter, but it still wasn't a perfect game. Why? Because you need your teammates to play flawless defense to pitch a perfect game.
Kershaw retired the first 18 batters he saw Wednesday night, but his perfect game was lost when Colorado's Corey Dickerson reached on a two-base error by shortstop Hanley Ramirez leading off the seventh inning. Ramirez fielded Dickerson's slow bouncer but threw wide of first base for the error.
A couple batters later, rookie third baseman Miguel Rojas made a nice play behind the bag and a long throw to first to retire Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki to keep the no-hitter intact. The Dodgers replaced Ramirez at shortstop with rookie Carlos Triunfel to start the eighth inning. Probably a smart move, but Kershaw had no difficulty retiring the side 1-2-3 in either of the last two innings.
Kershaw's no-hitter is the second one thrown in the major leagues this season. Teammate Josh Beckett tossed one in a 6-0 win at Philadelphia on May 25.
The 2014 Dodgers became the 16th team in major league history to throw more than one no-hitter in a single season. They are only the fifth team to accomplish the feat since 1972, when Burt Hooton and Milt Pappas threw no-hitters in the same season for the Cubs.
Just in case you were wondering, the 2012 Seattle Mariners were the last team to throw two no-hitters in a season. Kevin Millwood combined with five relievers to throw a no-hitter against the Dodgers on June 8 of that year. About two months later, on Aug. 15, Felix Hernandez tossed a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Thursday, March 27, 2014
It's a 10-team league -- five new owners (including me) and five returning owners. The five returning owners got to keep up to five players from last year, with the stipulation they couldn't keep their first-round draft pick from last season. That means there were still some elite players on the draft board, like Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano and Clayton Kershaw. All those guys were first-round picks in this league last year, and therefore could not be "kept" by any of the returning owners.
Nevertheless, some elite guys who were *not* first-round draft picks last year were kept and were not available in this draft. That list of players included Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Paul Goldschmidt and Andrew McCutchen -- all of whom certainly would have been drafted in the first round had they been available.
I had the 10th pick out of 10, so pretty much all of the real top-flight guys were gone by the time I made my first pick. They were either kept by returning owners, or selected in the nine picks made before mine. I knew I was behind the eight-ball no matter what I did, but I ultimately decided to take Troy Tulowitzki with the 10th overall pick and Jason Kipnis with the 11th. If nothing else, I had my middle infield set, and those positions are traditionally harder to fill than first base or any of the outfield spots.
Without further discussion, here's the team I drafted:
C: Brian McCann
1B: Eric Hosmer
3B: Manny Machado
LF: Mark Trumbo
CF: Michael Bourn
RF: Jay Bruce
Util: Mike Napoli
Util: Coco Crisp
BN: Jhonny Peralta
BN: David Freese
BN: Kelly Johnson
SP: Cole Hamels
SP: James Shields
SP: Julio Teheran
SP: Matt Moore
SP: Sonny Gray
SP: Justin Masterson
SP: Chris Tillman
RP: Trevor Rosenthal
RP: Grant Balfour
RP: Tommy Hunter
It should be noted I've already made two roster moves since the draft. Bourn is going to start the season on the DL, so I added another speedy outfielder in Ben Revere, who surprisingly was left undrafted in this league. I think he's a decent sleeper this year. In addition, another owner dropped Chase Headley, so I quickly snapped him up and released Freese, who is coming off a rough year and has had a poor spring.
Much like my other team, I'm taking a chance on Machado getting healthy and returning to form at third base. He's not going to be ready for the start of the season, so I needed a decent backup. Headley was the guy I wanted for that role all along, but somebody drafted him before I could get to him. I settled for Freese, but I was delighted earlier this week to see that Headley became available for nothing. I see him as a reasonable stopgap in the short run.
Have I mentioned yet there's one guy in this league who had Trout, Goldschmidt, McCutchen and Dustin Pedroia as his keepers? And, oh yeah, he drafted Kershaw, Jose Fernandez and Justin Verlander with his first three draft picks. That team is completely stacked, and it's hard not to feel like the rest of us are playing for second.
Me? I'll be lucky to finish in the top half of the league. Maybe next year.