Bradley has problems, but this ain't one

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The Milton Bradley-Lou Piniella brouhaha erupted and then more or less resolved itself over the weekend, with the name-calling apparently ending on Saturday and the rapprochement beginning (now they’re searching for the leaks). But before we let all of that go, I have to focus for a second on one part of this, and that’s one of the things cited in Saturday’s Sun-Times article detailing the meltdown:

From the front office to the clubhouse, Cubs personnel sympathize
with Bradley’s frustration, and nobody blames him for struggling. But
an apparent preoccupation with his individual issues over the team’s
efforts to shake a first-half malaise has worn on teammates, even down
to things as simple as working close pitches for walks with runners on
base when putting the ball in play with less than two outs might score
a rare and needed run.

Is this really a valid reason to be angry at Bradley? That he’s trying
to get on base? It’s be one thing if he were ignoring bunt signs or
something (not that I’d bunt with Bradley, but hey, directions are
directions) but trying to get on base is pretty much an unequivocal
positive, isn’t it?

I think the final takeaway from all of this is that, for all of his
craziness, there is a pretty rational and self-aware dude somewhere
inside of Milton Bradley. Here he is on Saturday, when asked whether Piniella’s yelling at him was unfair given that there are a lot of hotheads on that Cubs team:

“Like I’ve said, I don’t have the same set of rules as other people.
I’ve committed mistakes in my past to where you don’t get the leeway
other guys might get. To a certain extent, I guess that’s fair.”

(thanks to reader Arun Gupta for catching the on-base bit)

Clayton Kershaw struggles with control, walks six Marlins

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.

Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.

The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.