A Tale of Two Lefties

National League Champion San Francisco Giants’ ace lefty Madison Bumgarner and league also-ran Los Angeles Dodgers’ ace lefty Clayton Kershaw are a little more than a year apart in age, and Keshaw, the older of the two, has been a major league starter slightly longer and has started 51 more games, winning 31 more than Bumgarner during regular league seasons. Kershaw also has a significantly lower ERA and WHIP numbers, 2.48 and 1.06 to 3.06 and 1.13. Kershaw is favored to win his third Cy Young Award to none for Bumgarner, and Kershaw has a stack of league ERA, wins and strikeout titles. Kershaw took home $19 million dollars this season, compared to Bumgarner’s paltry $3.9 million. Kershaw toils for the Dodgers who won the second most games of any team in the NL this year and who won their NL West Division by six full games over Bumgarner’s Giants, who had to win that one-game wild-card play-in game to advance in the post season before they met and conquered two other division champions, the Nationals of the East and then the

Cardinals of the Central, who were coming off their decisive Division Series win that eliminated the Dodgers from the post season. And so, on Tuesday evening, Kershaw will be sitting in front a tele somewhere, maybe hoisting a brew, or maybe he'll be playing a video game or at the movies, or maybe he'll be at a meeting for one of the charities to
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which he devotes so much time and so much money, while Bumgarner, winner of the 2014 NL Championship Series MVP award, will be the opening day starter in the World Series against the Kansas City Royals.

How come?

There are two reasons that hit even the casual observer in the face. First is the fact that Bumgarner’s Giants are managed by the guy who is by most any standard the best there is today in baseball, Bruce Bochy. This is the Giants third World Series appearance in the last five seasons, and Bochy’s team will be trying for their third world championship in that time. Prior to joining the Giants, Bochy had already established his credentials during an amazing 12-year tenure leading the San Diego Padres, during which time they won four division titles and reached one World Series. Since Bochy moved north, the Padres have not won another division title and in the intervening eight seasons have finished above .500 only twice. Contrast this with the empty uniform non-manager Don Mattingly who the Dodgers continue to employ. Provided with the best team money can buy – a record shattering $240 Million 2014 payroll – mattingly has won his division twice now, but has

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led them to a 6-8 post season record as he continues to misjudge, mismanage and mess up a talent-laden team, year after year. The only thing I can say about this now in light of new head guy Andrew Friedman having said mattingly will manage the team in 2015, is that Friedman is not likely to put up with him for a second season, and that we can look forward to having a real, major league caliber manager in 2016.

The second reason is almost as obvious as the first – the respective post season performances of the two aces. All Dodgers’ fans are acutely aware of Kershaw’s post season failings. The raw numbers are this: In 11 starts he has a one and five won-lost record, with a 5.12 ERA, and now in consecutive seasons he was the loser in the Dodgers’ elimination game. Bumgarner, conversely, in ten starts and 11 post season appearances, has won five of eight decisions, with a 2.67 ERA, and has yet to face post season elimination.

Would a change in managers mean a difference in Kershaw’s post season performance for the Dodgers? No one can say with assurance that it would, but similarly, no on can know that it would not.

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