North: Kershaw is not the best pitcher ever
The Clayton Kershaw lovers are out in full force and the claims of him being the greatest pitcher ever need to be nipped in the bud! Every year around this time when baseball is the only game going, the sports media needs to fill time and space -- and sometimes it's with ridiculous statements.
Well, I am here to correct the record on this one so it doesn't become an epidemic.
Now ESPN's Buster Olney said Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball, not just this year at 13-2 but of all time. Then ESPN's Mike Greenberg made the same comment on his morning show, "Mike and Mike," and I thought, 'what an insane statement.'
Now, granted, Kershaw's career regular season stats (139-62 with a 2.36 ERA) are phenomenal. But have either of these two guys watched him in the post season where his stats differ greatly? Try a post season record of 4-7 with a 4.55 ERA.
How could they not mention Sandy Koufax with an overall record of 165-87 and 2.76 ERA, and a solid postseason record of 4-3 with a .95 ERA? Or Bob Gibson with a record of 251-174 and a 2.91 ERA with a very impressive post season record of 7-2 with a 1.89 ERA. Now if we are talking active pitchers there's Madison Bumgarner (100-70 2.99 ERA) and in the same division as Kershaw, who's been to three World Series with a post season record of 8-3 and a 2.11 ERA. Kershaw is in the team photo for best in this era, but please don't say he is the best pitcher of all time.
What's next for Schwarber?
The Chicago Cubs have called up Kyle Schwarber from the minors, and the more intriguing story is where he will bat in the lineup. Joe Maddon has said he would consider batting Schwarber in the leadoff position again. Why, because it went so well? Pardon my sarcasm ... Schwarber has said he gets why he was sent down, but he did well in the minors hitting .343 in 11 games.
The Cubs are looking for some lightning in a bottle with his return, and if Schwarber gets off to a fast start before the All-Star break, there will be plenty of smiling faces. But if he struggles in the handful of games before the break, what then?
Now my next question is who will lose playing time with his return -- maybe John Jay (.305) or Albert Almora Jr. (.263)? If he wasn't paid so much, Jason Heyward (.257) should probably sit, but that is unlikely.
Now, if people are waiting for the Milwaukee Brewers to fade, that could happen, but there should be more worry over the St. Louis Cardinals, who are playing well.
I believe the division will be in flux till the end. There's lots of games left to play, but Cubs' fans first half of the season has been more frustrating than good.
• Follow Mike on Twitter @north2north. Check out his podcast Monday-Friday at mikenorthpodcast.com. His column appears Fridays in the Daily Herald. For more, visit northtonorth.com.• Follow Mike on Twitter @north2north. Check out his podcast Monday-Friday at mikenorthpodcast.com. His column appears Fridays in the Daily Herald. For more, visit northtonorth.com.