Ubaldo Jimenez was scheduled to make his Cactus League debut during Friday’s split-squad game against the Angels, but was delayed nearly two hours because of a traffic jam following a fatal bus crash that killed more than six people and left more than 15 people injured in an area just south of Tempe. Jimenez elected to drive to the game, rather than take the bus with the rest of the team.
“I didn’t move forever, about three hours,” said Jimenez, who
nonetheless managed to maintain his smile. “I left around 9 and got
here at 1:30, after the game started. I feel good about how I threw. I
was throwing strikes. Even the walks were on close pitches.”
Talking about baseball almost seems silly at this point, but Jimenez eventually entered the game in fourth inning and struck out the side. He gave up four runs on three singles and two walks in his second inning of work. Jimenez, who just turned 26 in January, was 15-12 with a 3.47 ERA and 1.23 WHIP last season.
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.