This is a guest post is by Matt Schenfeld
On Aug. 25, the New York Yankees faced off against the greatest pitcher of the decade, Clayton Kershaw. This marked the southpaw’s fourth start against the Bombers in his Hall of Fame career. Kershaw went seven, giving up three runs- each on solo homers- while striking out 12. His current record stands at 13-3 with a
2.76 ERA, another Cy Young (CY) caliber season.
The Dodgers organization has seemingly always been built on pitching. Since the inception of the CY award in 1956 the Dodgers have had at least one in every decade with the exception of the 1990s. And even then, the staff included Orel Hershiser (CY 1988) and Ramón Martínez (116-70 with a 3.46 between ’90 and ’98). As a franchise, the Dodgers have the most CY awards with twelve. The next closest are the Braves, Phillies, and Red Sox each with seven while the Yanks sit in the middle of the pack with five.
With all their stars and Hall of Famers over the years, no Dodger has ever clubbed 50 homers, something the Bombers have achieved seven times. The closest was Shawn
Green who hit 49 in 2001. And as a franchise, only 14 Dodgers have hit at least 40 bombs in a season (including Bellinger this season).
The Bronx Bombers, as their name describes, is a franchise that has found success through their offense. In their storied history Hall of Famers like Babe Ruth, Lou
Gehrig and Mickey Mantle have contributed to the Yanks owning the most individual 40+ home run seasons in MLB history at 31. The next closets are the Giants and Braves with 22 apiece.
In the history of baseball, only 11 pitchers have won the CY and Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the same season. Three of them were Dodgers: Don Newcombe (1956),
Sandy Koufax (1963) and Clayton Kershaw (2014).
Other than his rookie campaign, Clayton has never had an ERA higher than 2.91
in a season. He has the second-highest winning percentage in baseball history at .697. Most franchises dream of having a pitcher of Kershaw’s caliber, yet the Dodgers also had Koufax. An embarrassment of riches indeed.
To compare these two virtuosos is rather difficult. You could make a case for either as the greatest of all-time. Some may say that in an era all about offense and loaded bullpens, Kershaw remained the exception and a consistent one at that. For Koufax, you could make the case that with fewer teams in each league there was a higher concentration of offensive talent.
Regardless of regular-season dominance, one thing won’t change and that is the fact that unlike Kershaw, Koufax was a winner come postseason play. Sandy is a three-time World Series champ (1959, 1963 and 1965) and was the MVP in two of those (1963 and 1965). His lifetime postseason ERA? 0.95.
This 2019 season, the Dodgers not only have two potential CY finalists in Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu (12-4, 2.00 ERA) but have also added offensive power to their already potent pitching. For the first time in the franchise’s history, the boys in blue
will likely have a 50+ homer season at the hands of the 24-year-old Bellinger, a surefire MVP finalist.
If the Yanks and Dodgers were to meet in October, it would be a World Series with many fantastic storylines: the matchup would tie the Lakers and Celtics who have faced off in a record 12 championships. It would continue the trend of pitching vs. power by including two potential Dodger CY candidates as well as a potential Bomber batting champ and MVP (LeMahieu).
If the Dodgers were to make it back to the World Series, it would mark the first time in their history and 16th time in the modern era (since 1920) a franchise appeared in at least three consecutive Fall Classics – the Yankees account for 10 of those. For history’s sake, I’m hoping the Dodgers make it 11. Yankees vs. Dodgers, pitching vs. power and so much history at stake. But first, we have to get there. With just 27 games left, the chase for 28 is upon us and it’s looking like it’s going to be a fun one. Let’s. Go. Yanks.