Reason #10,292,982 why pitcher wins are mind-blowingly stupid: Clayton Kershaw pitched into the eighth inning, left with a lead that Brandon League all-too-inevitably blew… and then League gets the win thanks to some heroics that he had absolutely nothing to do with in the tenth inning. Heart you, pitcher wins!
You might argue that it was actually Luis Cruz who knocked in the go-ahead run in the tenth on a fielder’s choice, but he also failed to get a hit or a walk tonight. (He did get hit by a pitch and come around to score.) Instead, we point to Uribe, who singled, doubled, and walked, driving in two, including the final run of the game. He is now hitting .287/.394/.414 with solid defense. He unquestionably deserves to be the starting third baseman right now. I’m not sure I want to live on this planet either, yet here we are.
For all the hand-wringing about League — who is, of course, terrible right now, though I will always reply to the “Kenley Jansen should close!!” business with “there would be nothing for Jansen to save if League had just blown the lead in the eighth” — it’s worth noting that Belisario had a very simple 1-2-3 inning in the tenth on seven pitches. Earlier today, Eric Stephen at TrueBlueLA had a good look at some of Belisario’s troubles this season, and it wouldn’t at all have been surprising to see him struggle through the tenth. If he had, after the Dodgers had managed to overcome League’s trouble so quickly, it arguably might have been more damaging than blowing the lead in the first place, so credit is due him for nailing that down.
Finally, there’s Kershaw, who was effective if less than dominating over seven-plus innings. He drove in two runs on his own with two hits, including a double, and he’s now hitting .241/.290/.414. For a pitcher, that’s phenomenal. Hell, on this team, it’s better than half the bench.
Don’t look now, but the Dodgers are only six games out in the loss column behind the first place Diamondbacks, who lost to the Cubs today. This is still a club with a lot of problems — a lot — but to say on the last day of May that the season is over… well, that’s just not true. At 23-30, tomorrow’s game represents the one-third mark of the season. There remains an enormous amount of baseball to be played.
Now, who will be seen should the Dodgers have a lead in the ninth inning of Game 54? I do not know, but I can’t imagine it will be League.