Madison Bumgarner vs. Clayton Kershaw: The Debate Continues
The San Francisco Giants, in the midst of an early-season renaissance after a 4-10 start, ended a three-game series against arch-rival Los Angeles in outstanding fashion. And they did it with, arguably, one of the best pitchers in baseball.
Giants ace Madison Bumgarner aimed to finish off the NL West-leading Dodgers in a series sweep, against 2014 NL MVP and Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw. It seemed like a monumental task, considering the team’s recent track record against the 27-year-old: in 4 games last year, the Giants offense could only muster a 1.69 ERA against him, and Kershaw never lost (3-0).
But Kershaw had been relatively struggling, as of late (2-3, 4.32 ERA in nine starts this year), and Bumgarner (5-2, 2.84 ERA in 9 starts) has recently found his late 2014 form. When the two collided on Thursday, it was clear as to who was better. For the moment, at least.
And it could really be summed up in one at-bat:
That was Kershaw giving up his first-ever home run to a pitcher. And that was Bumgarner laying waste to a Kershaw pitch 391 feet for his seventh career bomb.
This wasn’t even mentioning the fact that, at the time, Bumgarner essentially gave himself all the runs the Giants would need in a 4-0 win, giving the Giants the rare three-game sweep without surrendering a single run to the Dodgers offense.
However, perhaps this wasn’t enough to convince the nay-sayers – after all, Kershaw did have a 2014 regular season for the ages.
But, then again, Bumgarner did have a 2014 postseason that will go down as one of the best in MLB history.
And, even with the relative lead that Bumgarner has on Kershaw in terms of 2015 statistics …
… and playoff victories (7-3 in 14 games for Bumgarner vs. 1-5 in 11 games for Kershaw) …
… and World Series rings (3 for Bumgarner vs. 0 for Kershaw) …
… Both pitchers are still relatively young. Granted, MadBum has a substantial lead – at least, from a postseason standpoint – as of right now. But that’s what these debates are – hypothetical arguments based on a combination of past production and potential. If – or when – Kershaw shrugs off the postseason bug, he could see himself, and his Dodgers, winning multiple world titles (much to the chagrin of his rivals from the Bay).
The (sort-of) Charmed Life of DeMarcus Cousins
For a guy who hasn’t seen the playoffs yet in his five-year career, Kings power forward/center DeMarcus Cousins got a bevy of good news in the past few days.
At the NBA Draft Lottery, his Sacramento Kings were, as expected, awarded the sixth-overall pick in the 2015 draft. With that pick, a growing consensus believes that the team will take a much-needed defensive stopper in fellow Kentucky alum Willie Cauley-Stein. At 7’0″ and 250 lbs, he would serve as a huge complement (no pun intended) to Cousins’ effective inside game. In any case, he could be a prospect that could make No. 15’s life a whole lot easier.
Additionally, it was barely 48 hours ago that VP of Basketball Operations Vlade Divac quashed any rumors of a possible trade involving the mercurial 24-year-old – despite earlier comments by head coach George Karl that he had never coached an “untradeable player” before. In the former Kings center’s words:
Well, I think coach [Karl] kind of stepped it up further than he should. Of course, everybody has their opinion, but right now, if we’re talking about today, yeah, DeMarcus is untradeable. He’s a guy who we’re going to try to build around and see where he’s going to take us.
Soon after, Cousins was named to the All-NBA second team, a vote that included 18 first-team votes – an honor befitting of his impressive production throughout the 2014-15 season. He averaged 24.1 points, 12.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists, while shooting 46.7% from the field and 78.2% from the charity stripe. He joined Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, Trail Blazers forward-center LaMarcus Aldridge, Clippers guard Chris Paul, and Bulls center Pau Gasol for the honor.
It seems like Cousins is on a trajectory for true NBA stardom. If he continues to play his game, do his job and keep his head relatively out of the headlines (for all the wrong reasons), the former Wildcat could become the best young big man in the league.
For a guy on a struggling team, it’s been a pretty good week.
Lost In Translation: The Vernon Davis/Frank Gore Social Media Beef That Wasn’t
It’s a fact that many 49ers fans continue to find difficult to accept: franchise RB Frank Gore is now a member of the Indianapolis Colts.
But that’s not what this story is about. Nay – this is about the former 49ers rushing leader calling out a former teammate. Or, at least, that’s what it looked like.
It all started, apparently, three days ago – TE Vernon Davis posted this to instagram:
Not long after that post, Gore posted a reply, saying the following:
It didn’t help that Vernon posted this measure of payback on his instagram recently. However, the whole thing was blown a bit out of proportion. Gore even said recently that they were just joking. But, hey – if you wanna believe they’re covering up a ridiculous social media feud …
Seriously, though, if read like a couple of friends – rather than feuding former teammates – jawing at each other, it’s all perfectly harmless.
I understand the media has their job to do – like come up with stories that probably wouldn’t be stories 25 years ago … I mean, I’m part of the machine, so I get it … But I digress …
I will say this, though: All this goes out the window if they are seen in a future 49ers-Colts game yelling at each other – and not in a friendly manner.