The things I never used to notice...

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

The things I never used to notice...

Los Angeles Dodgers

...in the first 40 or 50 years of watching major league baseball.

This afternoon's match-up at Dodger Stadium between the league-leading Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers featured the first ever head-to-head meeting of All-Star right-hander Stephen Stras­burg and the consensus "Best Pitcher in baseball," ace southpaw Clayton Kershaw.

Both pitchers were very much on their game, with Strasburg actually turning in the better performance over the first 5½ innings. At the end of which time, Washington held a 1-0 lead thanks to a 2nd inning home run by Ryan Zimmerman.

Sailing into the bottom half of the 6th, the big righty had thrown only 69 pitches, but disposing of the first two batters, Kershaw and second baseman Chris Taylor took another 17 with both players fouling off numerous two-strike pitches.

That bought up Dodgers shortstop and reigning Rookie of the Year Corey Seager who rode the fourth pitch he saw, a 94 mph fast ball, over the centerfield fence to tie the game.

The next batter, Adrián González, swung and missed a backdoor slider which found its way to the backstop as the slow-of-foot slugger made it to first base on what the official scorer uncharitably decreed was a Passed Ball.

The first pitch to Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal was another 84 mph slider in virtually the same location; it skipped away from the Washington catcher, allowing González to lumber over to 2nd base... inexplicably, this was ruled a Wild Pitch.

Grandal ran the count full before depositing yet another 83 mph slider just out of the reach of the diving Nats left fielder and gave the Dodgers a lead they would not relinquish.

The big "notice" for me was that Strasburg finally got the final out of the 6th with his 103rd pitch, meaning he threw 34 pitches that one inning, and thanks to the prolonged at bats by Kershaw and Taylor, he'd started to tire when facing Seager and was visibly tuckered out in striking out González and trying to retire Grandal.

It cost him the game... the little things I now notice!

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