It can't get any lower than this: The Dodgers are shut out by the Pirates

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Matt Kemp olay.jpgI basically retweeted Ned Colletti’s comments back at Matt Kemp in the recaps this morning because I thought it’d be funny, but let’s be clear about something: Kemp’s misplay on that two-run triple was not the death blow in the Dodgers’ loss to the Pirates. It was the fact that the Dodgers were blanked by the worst pitching staff in all of baseball.

Four hits. Four hits is all Big Blue could muster against a team that has been giving up runs by the bucketful. And don’t tell me that it was just a fluke or that it was due to unusual weather conditions in L.A. yesterday (the wind chill factor was in the 40s). Why? Because the Dodgers have been shut out in three of their last five games. So what gives?

Garret Anderson, for one thing. The fact that he’s on any major league roster is something of a surprise, but thanks to Manny Ramirez’s injury he’s been getting way more at bats than he has any business getting. In the two-hole last night he went 0 for 4. In part-time play over the past two weeks he’s 1 for 25. James Loney has disappeared lately as well, going 0 for his last 18. Overall the Dodgers are six for 49 with runners in scoring position. All singles. There’s just no boom in their boomsticks, and the Dodgers look simply listless.

Matt Kemp is likely to get his share of media jeers today, but make no mistake: he’s not alone in deserving them.

Anthony Alford to miss 4-6 weeks following wrist surgery

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Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.

Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.

Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.

Stephen Strasburg hit a new career high today

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Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.

It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.

While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.

The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”