Kuroda a possibility for the NLCS

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Seeing how badly I whiffed when I tried to handicap the Dodgers-Cardinals series last week, particularly when it came to my assessment of the Dodgers’ rotation, I think I’m going to get out out of the prognostication business and merely pass along information about that kind of thing and let history take its course.  Things like this:

Manager Joe Torre said Hiroki Kuroda could join the
Dodgers’ playoff roster and start against the Philadelphia Phillies
depending on how he feels today after pitching a simulated game Tuesday
in Peoria, Ariz.

Sidelined for the division series because of a
bulging disk in his neck, Kuroda completed five innings in 49 pitches
while facing minor leaguers before throwing an additional 21 pitches in
the bullpen. He reported no complaints about his neck.

That simulated game was actually yesterday, and according to True Blue L.A., he threw 75 pitches, over which Joe Torre said he had “surprisingly good” command.

Given his solid start against the Cardinals, Vicente Padilla has to be a definite, as does Kershaw and Wolf. Assuming, as is likely, that Kuroda can go, that would presumably mean that Chad Billingsley would slide to the pen and Jon Garland would be off the NLCS roster entirely.

In light of Padilla’s emergence and the return of Kuroda, a rotation that looked to be a weakness in the NLDS — at least to morons like me — now shapes up to be a strength against the Phillies.

Mets trade Curtis Granderson to the Dodgers

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The Mets traded centerfielder Curtis Granderson to the Dodgers for cash considerations or a player to be named later, the teams announced late Friday night. Granderson was rumored to be drawing interest from teams earlier in the week, and found a landing place after slashing .256/.360/.721 since the start of the month. In a corresponding move, the Dodgers designated right-hander Dylan Floro for assignment to clear roster space for the outfielder.

As a whole, the 36-year-old’s 2017 campaign has been a tad underwhelming. Granderson entered Saturday batting .228/.334/.481 with 19 home runs and an .815 OPS through 395 PA, and accrued 1.7 fWAR to the 5.1 fWAR he produced during his pennant-winning, MVP-contending season in 2015. Still, with under $4 million remaining on his contract, another 20+ homer season around the corner and the defensive chops to man center field, it looks like a prudent deal for the Dodgers as they continue to bulldoze their way to the playoffs this fall.

The club has yet to outline their plans for Granderson, but his addition to a crowded outfield could displace centerfielder Joc Pederson, who turned in a meager .214/.329/.415 batting line through 292 PA in 2017. It could also have ramifications for fellow veteran Andre Ethier, assuming he’s healthy enough to compete for a starting role when he comes off the 60-day disabled list in September. The Mets, meanwhile, are expected to lean more heavily on rookie outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who’s made just five starts this season after struggling to get consistent playing time on the field.

Corey Kluber exits game with right ankle sprain

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Indians’ right-hander Corey Kluber was removed from the sixth inning of his start on Friday night, bringing a streak of 14 starts with 8+ strikeouts to an unfortunate end after he sprained his right ankle. Kluber stumbled off the mound while trying to field a base hit from Eric Hosmer and was seen visibly limping as he moved to cover first base. He was allowed to stay in the game for one more batter, but quickly yielded a three-pitch single to Melky Cabrera and left the mound with head athletic trainer James Quinlan.

It was a poor ending to another strong outing by the right-hander, who delivered 5 1/3 innings of one-run, four-strikeout ball and took his 12th win of the season after the Indians amassed a nine-run lead. Postgame comments by Cleveland skipper Terry Francona suggest that Kluber isn’t facing a serious setback after sustaining the sprain, however, and might even be good to go by the time his next start comes around on Wednesday.

While the Royals escaped Friday’s loss without injury, the 10-1 drubbing pushed them 6.5 games back of the division lead and half a game behind the Twins and Angels for the second AL wild card berth. They’ll host a rematch on Saturday at 7:15 ET, with left-hander Jason Vargas set to face off against Indians’ righty Trevor Bauer.