Thome chases ring in LA, but still has Chicago on his mind

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Jim Thome may be chasing his first
World Series ring with the Dodgers, but that doesn’t mean he’s put
Chicago behind him. The native-Illinoisan would welcome a return to Chicago:

”I’ll be honest, I would still love to come back,” Thome said,
tightening the blue batting gloves on each hand. ”I still care about
the city. I mean, we’re going to live there. Chicago’s very fond in my
heart. The time that I spent there, [chairman Jerry Reinsdorf] treated
me great. I guess we’ll deal with that when this is all over with.”

Thome, 39, will be a free agent this offseason. He hopes to have
that elusive World Series ring on order once he files for free agency.
But either way, he knows his days with the Dodgers are numbered.

…But if the Sox say no, Thome seems determined to make a return to the
American League Central and his next call likely would be to the —
brace yourself — the defending division-champion Twins.

This is pure speculation on Chris
De Luca’s part, of course, but the future Hall of Famer should have no
shortage of suitors now that he will be free of the seven-year, $85
million contract he signed with the Phillies in 2002. Equally enticing
will be his chase with history. Thome’s 564 home runs rank 12th
all-time. He is just five home runs behind Rafael Palmeiro for 11th
all-time. If he hits at least 20 home runs next season (something he
has done in 15 of his last 16 seasons) Thome would crack the top 10.

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.