As mentioned a few weeks ago, I participate in a fantasy contest over at ESPN, named Baseball Challenge.
The game gets broken up into first- and second-half segments, so if you
want to join in the fun, I’ve created a public group called “Circling
the Bases.” You can join the group anytime, but if you aren’t signed up
for the game, you’ll want to do so tonight or risk quickly falling
behind. It’s a daily-change game*, so unless you have 15 minutes or so
to burn every night, don’t bother.
(There is a weekly version of the game. For sissies. Yeah, I said it.)
Of course, you’ll have your work cut out for you if you want to beat
the first-half champion and only two-time winner of the contest. But
second-place bragging rights will be up for grabs, at least.
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.