It doesn’t take an expert to see how difficult it is to hit Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw. It does take an expert to actually do it.
In this case, Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon fits the bill. The 31-year-old MVP candidate is one of the few players who performs well against Kershaw. Over 51 plate appearances, Blackmon has hit .313/.353/.479 against the best pitcher in baseball.
That might not seem like a huge sample, but Blackmon has only seen one pitcher more than Kershaw over his career. All those division games have given Blackmon multiple looks at the lefty.
That won’t be the case for the Houston Astros in the World Series. Veteran Carlos Beltran has seen Kershaw over 30 times, but everyone else on the Astros lacks at-bats against him. That doesn’t seem to bode well for Houston.
Thankfully for them, Blackmon is here to help. He gave Yahoo Sports his scouting report of Kershaw before the Astros stand in the box against him in Game 1 of the World Series.
It’s not just general analysis, either. Blackmon tells you what it’s like to see Kershaw’s stuff from the batter’s box.
“He’s got a slider that looks a lot like a fastball,” Blackmon says. “And a curveball that looks like a fastball that’s going to go to the backstop.”
Though Blackmon has put up strong numbers against Kershaw, he admits it’s no easy to get a read on his pitches.
“Guys are going to have trouble — as I have — picking up spin, discerning between strike and ball and also not striking out,” he adds.
Now, if you’re the Astros reading this right now, you’re probably saying, “Great, this guy sounds terrifying. I guess we’re screwed.”
But Blackmon then gives his advice to guys who haven’t seen Kershaw. He thinks Houston’s hitters will try to be aggressive in the count against Kershaw and take advantage of early strikes.
“Clayton Kershaw usually pitches ahead,” he says. “He throws a lot of strikes. If there is a weakness, it’s probably early in the count. But, he has also spent most of this year throwing off-speed pitches while behind in the count and doing things that make him less predictable.”
Even after a pretty informative scouting report, we think Blackmon’s final comment sums up facing Kershaw perfectly.
“So, in saying that, good luck.”
Take it from an expert. Hitting Clayton Kershaw is just as hard as it looks.
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