16 April 2009

13 Karat Kershaw: Game 9 Unfair Win Shares

For much of the game it seemed that many of the Dodgers were trying for unfair loss shares, with only Kershaw's amazing performance keeping them out of danger. Then when Kuo and Belisario blew the lead, it seemed as though the entire team reversed course and strove to pull the team to victory. And they did. The hitters in the 2 through 7 spots in the lineup all contributed to the two late-inning rallies that secured the victory for the Dodgers.

The first inning was almost Kershaw's secret undoing. Not the top of the first, but the bottom of the first. If the Dodgers could have fully taken advantage of Cain's early lack of command and scored multiple runs, the lead when Kershaw left the game would not have been so precarious. It's easy to blame Kuo and Belisario, and believe it that I do, but there were many shaky performances involved in the Dodgers nearly giving away such a splendidly pitched game.

Furcal and Kemp were the goats of the first inning, bookend outs that need not have been. I think the stolen base is a very iffy proposition with the hitters that come up behind Furcal: they are good enough so that there is no need to play for one run. Realize too that a stolen base does not contribute in any way to a multi-run inning unless it scotches a potential double play ball. I think Furcal should limit his stolen base attempts to situations when there are two outs, or he is really sure he will make it. Hudson and Manny are not notorious double play men, not anything like Loney and Martin are. There is no urgency to run so early in the inning. When Furcal tried his steal in the first, the reward was small, and never realized, and the cost was steep, nearly the game, but fortunately that was never realized either.

Cain's last pitch of the first inning cut down and away. Kemp needs to lay off of it. I remember watching that pitch, realizing it was headed out of the zone, and for a moment thinking that he wasn't going to swing, until he did. It really seemed like a late swing to me, a last-moment reaction. I wonder how close he came to not swinging. Probably it was a tough pitch to take. But when the bases are loaded with two outs you can't chase that stuff. If Kemp was beaten in the zone I wouldn't be so hard on him. Same if he put the ball in play and made an out that way.

Kemp's game after the first inning strikeout was great, including a sliding catch and throw to double Aurilia off first. I'm with Aurilia on his complaint, though. The umpire really should make a clearer indication that Kemp caught the ball. But Kemp's finest moment came in the eighth when he was again in a situation where he really shouldn't strike out, and he didn't. That was my favorite hit of the night. Kemp might be in line for an unfair win share if he had started the game better.

Hudson gets the lone offensive unfair win share for the Dodger win last night. He scored in the first inning and set up the game winning ninth inning rally with his leadoff hit. Martin comes close, because he was right in the middle of that eighth inning rally, but he lost it when hit the almost-a-double-play grounder in the ninth. Loney might have received one if he had driven in the winning run with a hit. Maybe he should get one anyway, but I really want to give Kershaw two. With that performance a star was born. The promise of dominant games like last night was why I made sure to see Kershaw's first start in person. The Dodgers may have cost him a win last night, but I won't let them cost him his deserved unfair win shares!

For the Giants the unfair loss shares will go to Lewis, who struck out four times, Howry, who was involved in both the eighth and ninth inning Dodger rallies, and Wilson, who might have fared better if Molina could have handled the throw to the plate on Martin's grounder more cleanly. This is kind of rough on Wilson, since he was brought in with no outs and bases loaded, a nearly impossible situation. But he walked in the winning run, and that will always get you the unfair loss share. Let that be a warning to you, Dodger pitchers.

Unfair Win Shares ( Dodgers )

Kershaw -- 2
Hudson -- 1

Unfair Loss Shares ( Giants )

Lewis -- 1
Howry -- 1
Wilson -- 1

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