Link-O-Rama: Manny passes Mickey

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* Manny Ramirez hit career homer No. 537 last night
to pass Mickey Mantle for 15th place on the all-time list. Ramirez is
now 15-for-47 (.319) with four homers in 14 games since returning from
suspension and the Dodgers are 28-12 when he’s in the starting lineup.

* Lou Piniella and Milton Bradley had their private coaching session
yesterday, and when asked afterward “how it went” Bradley replied: “It
went. That’s all I care to elaborate.” Piniella was slightly more
forthcoming, saying: “It went well. He was receptive to it and we
didn’t make many radical changes at all. We talked about some things
that felt comfortable.”

* Eddie Guardado is five outings away
from becoming just the 21st pitcher in baseball history to appear in
900 games. Trevor Hoffman (958) and David Weathers (932) are the only
active pitchers ahead of him, although it’s worth noting that 112
different active pitchers have faced more batters than Guardado’s total
of 3,965.

* With the Nationals falling 40 games below .500 last night, Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times puts their feat in the context of baseball’s long history of horrendous teams.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.

Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.

This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.

Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.