Clayton Kershaw is having a great season. He leads the majors with a 1.72 ERA, and I need to put that in perspective for a minute. That 1.72 ERA is the lowest in baseball since Greg Maddux posted a 1.63 mark in his Cy Young winning season of 1995. The only other players with a lower ERA since 1969 are Dwight Gooden in 1985 and a pair of strike-shortened seasons (Maddux in 1994 and Nolan Ryan in 1981). Kershaw even took a step past Pedro Martinez's legendary 2000 season on Thursday, though his strikeout and walk ratios pale in comparison to Martinez that year. You can make all of the arguments for Matt Harvey or Adam Wainwright with their superior peripherals all you want, but I think Kershaw has the Cy Young award all wrapped up in the NL with a month to play.
PIC OF THE DAY
Alcides Escobar is either making a great play, or excited for HyVee.. (John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports)
Game of the Night: Phillies 5, Rockies 4. They did it again. The Phillies are 4-3 under Ryne Sandberg, with all four wins coming by one run and three coming via the walk off. The Phillies trailed 4-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth when Matt Belisle allowed a two out, two-run homer to Darin Ruf, cutting the lead to just a run. In the bottom of the ninth, closer Rafael Betancourt replaced Belisle and got the first two outs without much effort. Then, he allowed a double into the right field corner to Jimmy Rollins, and let Rollins steal third with no effort. Michael Young hit a dribbler that Betancourt nor Nolan Arenado could field, bringing home Rollins to tie the game. Betancourt left the game with an injury following that play, and was replaced by Jeff Francis. Francis promptly walked Chase Utley and allowed a single to Domonic Brown, bringing home Young to hand the Phillies another win.
Pitching Lines of the Day: The aforementioned Kershaw led the Dodgers to a 6-0 win in Miami, giving up five hits over eight shutout innings, striking out six and walking three. Mat Latos pitched the Reds past the Diamondbacks 2-1, allowing one run on five hits in eight innings, punching out six without a walk. In the loss, Trevor Cahill allowed one run on four hits in seven innings, striking out seven and walking four. Jose Quintana pitched well for the White Sox in their 4-3, 12 inning win over the Royals, giving up three runs on four hits in seven innings, walking one and striking out seven.
Hitting Lines of the Day: Brian Bogusevic had a good game for the Cubs in their 5-4, 13 inning loss to the Nationals, going 3/4 with a walk, a double, and a solo homer. Jose Tabata led the Pirates to a 10-5 win over the Giants, going 3/4 with two runs, three RBI, and a double. The Tigers duo of Austin Jackson and Bryan Holaday played well in Detroit's 7-6 loss to Minnesota, with Jackson going 2/4 with two runs, three RBI, and a homer and Holaday going 2/2 with two runs, two RBI, a walk, and a homer.
Other Games: The Yankees topped the Blue Jays, and the rain, 5-3. The Cardinals beat the Braves 6-2.
What You Missed: Ryan Braun admitted his PED usage. Cal Ripken Jr: manager? Rockies coach Rene Lachemann lectured a child after giving him a ball. Jason Heyward's broken jaw should tell everyone how much of a joke Ryan Dempster's suspension is. Mrs Met stunned Serena Williams in a ping pong match in New York.
Today's Games: Dan Straily starts for the A's in Baltimore against Bud Norris. Wade Miley and Cole Hamels will face off in Philly. Hiroki Kuroda and the Yankees take on Chris Archer and the Rays. Homer Bailey and the Reds host Yovani Gallardo and the Brewers. Doug Fister starts for the Tigers in Flushing against Daisuke Matsuzaka (?!?!?!) and the Mets. Jhoulys Chacin and the Rockies take on the Marlins in Miami. Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals host Kris Medlen and the Braves. Gio Gonzalez and the Nationals travel to Kansas City to take on Bruce Chen and the Royals. John Lackey and Ricky Nolasco duel in LA. Felix Hernandez and the Mariners host the Angels. Charlie Morton and the Pirates take on Madison Bumgarner and the Giants.
National TV: Braves-Cardinals (8 PM, MLB Network), Rangers-White Sox (8 PM, MLB Network)
MLB.tv Free Game: Blue Jays-Astros (8 PM)
Pitching Matchup of the Day: Hiroki Kuroda vs Chris Archer (Yankees vs Rays, 7 PM)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.