Lynn before the trade deadline

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Lynn before the trade deadline

Postby yudan18 » Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:52 am

DENVER (AP) — The scorecard in the archives of the Colorado Rockies‘ history stands like this: World Series appearances 1 Reggie Jackson Jersey , NL West titles 0.No divisional crowns is a particular figure that All-Star shortstop Trevor Story and his teammates are keenly aware of and hope to remedy, especially with the Rockies climbing into a place they’ve rarely been this late in the season: All alone at the top of the NL West. The Rockies haven’t occupied first place this late in the year since 1995.Colorado began an off day Thursday with a 1 ½-game divisional lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers and 2 games over the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Rockies (77-62) start a pivotal stretch by hosting the Dodgers for three games starting Friday and then Arizona for four more.Buckle up. These last 23 games reckon to be quite a ride.“A division title would be huge, obviously, since we’ve never done that,” said Story, who crushed three homers Wednesday, including one that went a Coors Field-record 505 feet according to Statcast. “We’re very confident we can do it. We’re going for it.”The Rockies are a little bit of an anomaly among division-leading team. Consider this: The Rockies are a minus-8 in run differential. For comparison, the front-running Boston Red Sox are plus-223 in the AL East and the defending World Series champion Houston Astros a plus-235 in the AL West.Colorado doesn’t even have the best odds of making the postseason out of its division. According to ESPN, the Rockies have a 48.2 percent chance, while the Dodgers check in at 77.6 percent.“I still think we are the best team and I know when we are doing things right and playing the way we should,” said right-hander Jon Gray, who pitches Friday as the Dodgers counter with ace Clayton Kershaw. “We are going to be where we need to be at the end of the season.”Fresh off a sweep of the Giants, the Rockies find themselves a season-best 15 games above .500. They trailed by eight games after play on June 28, but have since gone 39-20 — including 5-0 in September.“We’ve been playing these kinds of meaningful games for a long time now,” Story said.The last time Colorado was in sole possession of first at this juncture of the year was 1995. That happened to be the season the team moved into its new digs at Coors Field and was led by players such as Dante Bichette, Larry Walker , Andres Galarraga and Vinny Castilla, who’s currently the team’s special assistant to the general manager. They were leading until Sept. 27 when they lost to a Dodgers team that would go on to win the division by a game.Colorado earned a wild-card spot that season. Over the team’s history, they’ve appeared in the postseason four times — all as a wild-card. The Rockies rode a wave of momentum to the 2007 World Series, before being swept by Boston. Last season, they lost a one-game playoff to the Diamondbacks in their first playoff appearance since ’09.“There hasn’t been any rah-rah talk, no pep talks,” Gray said. “We know what needs to be done. Maybe that was needed last year. But not this time.”Story and Nolan Arenado are pacing the offense with NL MVP-caliber seasons. Story is hitting .298 with 31 homers, 95 RBIs and 25 stolen bases. He’s also playing Gold Glove-worthy shortstop. Despite a recent slump, Arenado is batting .297 with 31 homers and 93 RBIs. He’s going for his sixth straight Gold Glove at third base.The team added even more of a veteran presence by bringing in slugger Matt Holliday, who joins a lineup that includes second baseman DJ LeMahieu, outfielder Charlie Blackmon, converted first baseman Ian Desmond and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. Younger players such as David Dahl and Ryan McMahon have been coming up clutch, too.On the pitching side, left-hander Kyle Freeland is among the leaders in ERA (2.96), while German Marquez is coming off back-to-back double-digit strikeout performances. The bullpen has been shaky at times this season, but Adam Ottavino has 100 strikeouts to go with a 1.96 ERA and closer Wade Davis leads the NL with 38 saves.After finishing their current 10-game homestand Glenn Hubbard Jersey , the Rockies hit the road for nine straight. At 40-32 away from home, they’re one victory away from tying their mark for most wins on the road in a season (2009, ’17).“This team knows what needs to be done,” Gray said. “We are on the same page and we are feeling it happen.” Clayton Kershaw is pitching like Clayton Kershaw.That's good news for the Los Angeles Dodgers and fantastic news for baseball.We're talking about the greatest pitcher of his generation. He's worth rooting for鈥擠odgers fan or not.In his most recent start, which came September 7 against the Colorado Rockies, Kershaw allowed two earned runs with seven strikeouts over six innings at Coors Field. It wasn't the best outing of his career鈥攁 high bar to clear鈥攂ut it was yet another strong effort from the three-time National League Cy Young Award winner and one-time NL MVP.The Dodgers have won each of Kershaw's last four turns on the hill. He's lasted six innings or more in every start since July 3. He posted a 1.95 ERA in July and a 2.06 mark in August.Before his recent run of familiar dominance, Kershaw spent time on the disabled list with biceps and back issues. His status as the best pitcher on the planet was suddenly in doubt.Lately, his trusted left arm has pushed those doubts to the back burner. Concurrently, the possibility of a Kershaw opt-out is bordering on a certainty.Here's the deal: Kershaw is inked through the 2018 campaign. This winter, he can opt in for two more seasons with Los Angeles at a total of $70-plus million, per Cot's Contracts, or he can dip his toes into the free-agent waters.If Kershaw's health problems had lingered or his results had trended southward, he might have chosen the safe route. He's back on the bump, however, and chucking it like his old self. Free agency is the way to go.Yes, his fastball velocity has dipped from a career average of 93.7 mph to 91.4 mph Rickey Henderson Jersey , per FanGraphs. And he turned 30 in March, meaning any long-term contract will carry him into his mid-30s and beyond. That's when many pitchers' skills begin to erode.The counterpoint? He's Clayton Kershaw.Elaine Thompson/Associated PressSince 2011, Kershaw leads all pitchers with 50.7 WAR, according toFanGraphs. Only Max Scherzer (42.9) and Chris Sale (40.9) have surpassed 40 WAR over that span.If Kershaw's brilliant career ended today, you could make a credible Hall of Fame case.Thankfully, his career isn't over. And you can bet suitors will circle with their wallets wide open if he tests the market this winter.Kershaw refused to tip his hand in April, and his tune hasn't changed."There will be a time to think about all that stuff, but that will be after the season," he said of his looming opt-out, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. "I've been to everywhere now. I know what it's like. I don't need to worry about that now. I can sift through all that stuff, if I have to, in the offseason."Let's assume he sifts through the stuff and becomes a free agent. He's a Texas native who might replace fellow free-agent southpaw Dallas Keuchel atop the Houston Astros rotation or accelerate the Texas Rangers' rebuild.The New York Yankees will be in the market for starting pitching. So will the Chicago Cubs. Don't count out the Boston Red Sox and, well, just about every other franchise with two nickels to rub together.Gregory Bull/Associated PressIn the end, the Dodgers make the most sense. Kershaw has never worn another big league uniform. He's the face of the franchise. From and on-field and PR standpoint, Los Angeles should bring him back.That may mean a new deal in excess of $200 million鈥攕omething in line with the seven-year , $217 million pact the Red Sox handed David Price in December 2015 before his age-30 season.Price has battled injuries and inconsistency in the intervening years. Kershaw could do the same.'s Buster Olney spelled out the risk/reward proposition:"There have been plenty of instances in which a team extended itself to retain an aging star, with Tom Bradyperhaps being the best current example. There also have been teams that said no to Hall of Fame-caliber players鈥攖he Packers to Brett Favre, the Cardinals toAlbert Pujols."In a perfect world in which money is not a factor and everybody lives happily ever after, the star stays, retires in harmony with his employers and comes back every year to wave to the crowds who once cheered his or her feats. But in this complicated world, that doesn't always happen."On that scale, Kershaw would be worth the gamble. The Dodgers haven't won a World Series since 1988. They acquired Manny Machado before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but if the season ended Wednesday, they'd miss the playoffs. If they fall short of a Commissioner's Trophy once again, can they also afford to let their ace go?Kershaw is pitching like Kershaw. That's great news all around, but it's especially good for him...and his bank account. All statistics and contract information current entering play Wednesday and courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs.
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