Twins dump Nick Blackburn and his 6.53 ERA from rotation

2 Comments

After another poor start Sunday raised his ERA to an MLB-worst 6.53 the Twins have decided to bump Nick Blackburn from the rotation and replace him with Brian Duensing.
Blackburn’s situation is made more complicated by the fact that the Twins misguidedly signed him to a four-year, $14 million contract this offseason instead of simply going year-to-year with a player they controlled through 2013 anyway.
Blackburn’s incredibly low strikeout rate and mediocre ground-ball percentage always made him a poor long-term investment, but that ship has obviously sailed and now the Twins are locked into paying him $13.25 million over the next three seasons.
Duensing has posted a 1.67 ERA in 43 innings as a reliever this season and pitched very well in nine starts down the stretch last season, but his secondary numbers and minor-league track record suggest his upside is fairly limited. With that said, it won’t take much for Duensing to provide a huge upgrade over Blackburn, who has allowed a .337 batting average and .561 slugging percentage overall this season and is 1-6 with a 9.88 ERA since June 1.

Report: Steven Matz has been pitching through pain, may need elbow surgery

Mike Stobe/Getty Images
1 Comment

Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that Mets starter Steven Matz has been pitching through pain for most of the season. He may need surgery to fix a nerve issue in his elbow. Matz was sidelined in spring training with an elbow injury and made his regular season debut on June 10.

Matz, 26, has struggled over 13 starts, posting a 6.08 ERA with a 48/19 K/BB ratio in 66 2/3 innings. Many were scrambling for explanations for his pitching woes and now they have it.

According to Carig, the Mets let Matz skip his bullpen sessions to help him pitch through the pain. Given the Mets’ shoddy history of dealing with injuries, that’s not a good look for the club.

Carig noted on Twitter that Jacob deGrom offers some optimism for Matz’s case. deGrom underwent right elbow surgery to repair ulnar nerve damage last September and bounced back to have a great season this year.

Clayton Kershaw’s simulated game went so well he threw an extra inning

Denis Poroy/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw was scheduled to throw three innings in a simulated game on Monday. That simulated game went so well, he threw an extra inning, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Kershaw will make a minor league rehab start next and could be activated towards the end of next week.

Kershaw, 29, has been on the disabled list since July 24 with a lower back strain. That put the pause button on another outstanding season. He’s carrying a 15-2 record with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.

The 87-35 Dodgers have run away with the NL West, needing some combination of 20 wins and 20 Rockies losses (19 for the third-place Diamondbacks) to officially clinch the division. While the Dodgers are all but mathematically assured of reaching postseason baseball, the club would still like to get Kershaw as ready as possible over the next month-plus.