Nationals catcher Jesus Flores has not appeared in a major league game since September of last season due to ongoing trouble with his right shoulder. And, from the looks of things, that isn’t likely to change anytime soon.
According to Ben Goessling of MASN, the 25-year-old catcher is again reporting problems with his surgically-repaired shoulder and has been shut down temporarily. He will be reevaluated after the All-Star break, but it’s not known when he might resume baseball-related activities.
Goessling suggests that the Nationals may never see Flores in a major league uniform again. He is arbitration-eligible after this season and this latest setback means trouble for his chances of returning to action this year.
Flores hit .301/.371/.505 over 93 at-bats in 2009 with four home runs, three doubles, two triples and 15 RBI. Perhaps the promise of working with young phenom Stephen Strasburg will make him want to remain in Washington and demand very little through the arbitration process. But, as a young and valuable catcher, he might look to cash in.
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.