Jerry Manuel has been wanting to do it for a while, and despite Reyes’ own initial protests and the lobbying of Jeff Francoeur to have the issue tabled, it’s going to happen during this weekends’ series against the Braves, as Manuel says he wants to jump start the lineup (note to self: never hire Jeff Francoeur to be a lobbyist).
I don’t have a problem with this. As long as he’s near the top of the order, it really doesn’t matter. A leadoff hitter tends to only leadoff once a game anyway. The rest of the time everyone needs to hit. Better he do it directly in front of Jason Bay than to have Luis Castillo interrupting the flow.
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.