When you screw up with a seven game lead in the division, you’re colorful. When you do it during an extended swoon that has people wondering whether you can hold on to the lead, you get the raspberries:
There was no translation needed to comprehend the most unusual of sounds showered upon Manny Ramirez in the sixth inning Sunday afternoon:
Dodgers fans loudly voiced their displeasure after the wildly popular left fielder allowed Aramis Ramirez’s hit to roll past him to the wall for a triple that sparked a tiebreaking two-run outburst and gave the Chicago Cubs a 3-1 victory at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers’ poor play has been a team effort lately, but with Ramirez sitting at .254/.345/.431 since the break, you can bet that he’s going to get the lion’s share of the blame if L.A. somehow woofs the division away to the Rockies or Giants.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.