LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Clayton Kershaw impressed just about everybody except himself in becoming the Los Angeles Dodgers' first 20-game winner in 21 years. Fittingly, his accomplishment came against a team he has dominated this season.Kershaw improved to 5-0 against San Francisco with a 2-1 victory on Tuesday night that pushed the Giants closer to elimination from the NL West race.Kershaw (20-5) allowed six hits and one run in 7 1-3 innings, walked two and struck out six to become the first Dodgers pitcher to go 5-0 against the Giants since Vic Lombardi in 1946. He did it on what would have been Lombardi's 89th birthday."Don't overthink it," Kershaw said of his strategy against the Dodgers' biggest rival. "You have a tendency sometimes when you face a team over and over to try to change things."Four of those victories came against two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, with Kershaw allowing one earned run in those games. That came on an eighth-inning homer by Chris Stewart."It's frustrating, obviously," Lincecum said. "But when you go up against a guy like that who's having a year like this, you've got to be on your game. Every run counts, so you can't go out there and give him a two-run lead and kind of put the ball in his court to put his foot down because he tends to do that a lot. And it's not just against us."Kershaw issued his only two walks after Stewart's one-out homer. Kenley Jansen relieved him, striking out pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval and Carlos Beltran on a called third strike to end the inning."I love situations like that, tight games, especially when we're up by one," Jansen said. "That's a blessing just being a part of him getting those 20 wins."Javy Guerra pitched the ninth to earn his 19th save in 20 chances. Kershaw hugged Jansen when the game ended."It's a testament to our bullpen tonight," Kershaw said. "These guys picked me up time in and time out. It's a culmination of things. When you win 20 games it's a whole lot of people helping you out back there."Kershaw kept his name in the mix to win the NL Cy Young Award. He's tied with Arizona's Ian Kennedy for the league lead in wins and leads the majors with a 2.27 ERA. Kershaw's 242 strikeouts lead the NL, too."If I were to receive that, it wouldn't go lightly," he said.Lincecum doesn't have a vote, but if he did he said it would go to Kershaw "just because of the numbers that he has."He's leading in a lot of categories and putting up a 20-win season is huge, especially with the team they've got. He's done a magnificent job this year. I'm sure (the four wins against Lincecum) will weigh into the decisions of people, but we're not the only team he's had great games against," he said.Lincecum (13-13) extended his career-high loss total, giving up two runs and eight hits in seven innings. He struck out five and walked three. The right-hander got two or fewer runs of support for the 20th time in his 32 starts.The loss ended the Giants' eight-game winning streak and dropped them another game behind Atlanta and St. Louis in the NL wild card race. They trail the Braves by 4 12 and the Cardinals by two with eight games to play."It hurts a lot, just because of the roll we'd been on," Lincecum said. "This is going to set us back a little bit. We've just got to pray for a miracle."Jerry Sands homered leading off the second inning to help the Dodgers win their fourth in a row and move a game above .500 for the first time since April 29 against San Diego. James Loney's RBI single with two outs in the first gave them a 1-0 lead.Kershaw became the first Dodgers pitcher to win 20 games since Ramon Martinez went 20-6 in 1990. The left-hander extended his winning streak to a career-high seven games and improved to 12-1 in 16 home starts."The whole body of work has been tremendous," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "The kid's been doing this every time out for the most part. The performances speak for themselves. You don't need to politic for him."Kershaw departed to a standing ovation with one out in the eighth. He left the stadium carrying a bottle of 2000 vintage Dom Perignon champagne decorated to commemorate his milestone by clubhouse attendant Mitch Poole."If this boy doesn't win the Cy Young, something is definitely wrong," said Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp, who went 2-for-2 with two strikeouts, giving him a career-high 182 hits this season.The Dodgers picked off baserunners three times, with Kershaw involved twice. He picked off Beltran to end the first and later got Justin Christian, giving Kershaw eight pickoffs which leads the NL.NOTES: Kershaw is the 16th 20-game winner in Dodgers' history. ... The Dodgers improved to 23-20 in one-run games, including a 16-7 mark at home. ... Beltran snapped an 0 for 9 streak in his career against Kershaw with singles in his first two at-bats. ... At 23, Kershaw became the second-youngest 20-game winner in Dodgers' history behind Martinez, who was 22 in 1990. ... Kemp was chosen by his teammates as winner of the Roy Campanella Award, given to the Dodgers player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher. ... Lincecum fell to 0-3 with a 1.82 ERA in his five matchups with Kershaw this season.
SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants have made a habit in recent winters of “kicking the tires,” so to speak, on as many free agents as possible. General manager Bobby Evans is committed to being thorough, but at times there is probably no need.
Hitters have made no secret of the fact that they prefer friendlier confines, and if you’re a power hitter, you’re going to ask Evans for a significantly larger check to play 81 of your games at the harshest power park in the majors. That’s what makes Giancarlo Stanton, readily available via trade, so intriguing. But would Stanton be fully immune to the realities of AT&T Park?
The numbers, at least in a small sample, suggest he would. Stanton has played 27 games in San Francisco and taken 108 at-bats. He has nine homers, 11 doubles and a triple. His .676 slugging percentage at AT&T Park isn’t far off his mark at Coors Field (.714), and his 1.048 OPS is higher than his OPS during the 2017 season, when he hit 59 homers.
The damage has been done in limited time, but the Giants clearly believe it’s fully sustainable, and a recent study done by ESPN’s Dan Szymborski backs that up. Szymborski ran his ZiPS projection system to estimate Stanton’s stats over the next 10 years for a variety of suitors. The numbers in orange and black are overwhelming.
The projections have Stanton at 46.2 WAR over the next 10 seasons, including 7.1 in 2018 and 6.8 in 2019, the two seasons the organization should be focused on given Madison Bumgarner’s contract situation. ZiPS projects Stanton at 46 homers next season if he plays for the Giants, followed by 43, 42, 39, 35 over the following four years. For comparison’s sake, Brandon Belt led the Giants in homers each of the last two seasons and he has 35 total during that span.
Any sort of projection system needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt, especially with a player who has had injury issues in the past. But ZiPS believes Stanton -- who plays in a huge park already -- is a rarity, the kind of power hitter who can keep crushing well into his 30’s and put up huge numbers even if he is limited by the realities of getting older and getting hurt. Szymborski’s projections have Stanton playing just 102 games in 2025, but he’s still projected to hit 23 homers, 20 doubles and post an OPS+ of 121. Even in the 10th year of the projections, ZiPS has Stanton down for 16 homers.
There are no sure things in this game, but as Evans continues to chase a blockbuster deal, he can be confident that Stanton is one player who should be able to provide power for years to come, no matter what AT&T Park does to hold hitters down.
Former A's left fielder/DH and Bay Area native, Jonny Gomes, last played Major League Baseball in 2015. The next year, Gomes looked to continue his career in Japan with the Rakuten Golden Eagles.
Gomes struggled in Japan, batting just .169 in 18 games. While in Japan though, Gomes saw firsthand the two-way talent of Shohei Ohtani.
"The dude throws 100 miles per hour consistently," Gomes said Tuesday to MLB Network Radio. "That plays."
With MLB, the Players Association, and the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization agreeing to a new posting system, Ohtani should soon be available as a free agent to MLB teams. Gomes was adamant that Ohtani will live up to the hype.
"If you have the arm speed to throw 100 miles per hour, guess what your slider's gonna do -- yikes. And he also has a split, which is yikes with that arm speed. And he also has a changeup, and he also has a curveball. You're talking about five plus, plus, plus pitches.
"If he was in the draft, I think it would be a no-brainer right now that he'd be No. 1 overall," Gomes said.
Since turning pro as an 18-year-old, Ohtani has been a dominant force on the mound. The 6-foot-3 right-hander owns a 42-15 career record with a 2.52 ERA and 1.076 WHIP.
What makes Ohtani, 23, so intriguing is that he's not only the best pitcher in Japan, he may be the best hitter too. In 2017, Ohtani hit .332 with eight home runs in 65 games. The left fielder/DH owns a .286/.358/.500 career slash line with 48 home runs.
"Now hitting wise, is it gonna transfer, is it not? I've seen the dude hit a fly ball that hit the roof of the Tokyo Dome," Gomes remembers. "So, what does that tell you? That bat speed's there, that power's there, that he's generating a lot out front.
"To be able to hit the roof of the Tokyo Dome is way more impressive than hitting any other roof in the states. It would be like hitting the roof in Seattle when it was closed, it's way up there."
Everyone knows about Ohtani off-the-charts talent. The stats are there. What we don't know as much about is his personality. Gomes does and he believes his leadership will make him be a star in the states.
"I'm a big fan of the dude," Gomes says. "I saw his work ethic, I saw how players treated him, I saw how respectful he was. Over there it's all about seniority. Granted he was the biggest star on the field at any given moment, but still gave the utmost respect to seniority guys on his ball club."