Takashi Saito had hoped to be available out of the Braves’ bullpen over the weekend after an MRI exam revealed merely tendinitis in his sore shoulder, but those plans were ruined when he felt pain while playing catch Saturday.
Saito seems pretty frustrated by the setback:
I’m starting to think I should just stop saying it hurts. I’m thinking about taking the word “pain” out of my mind. I’ll throw from the side or underneath if I have to.
Pat Neshek has actually made a career out of the whole “throw from the side or underneath” thing and he still needed Tommy John surgery.
Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal Constitution speculates that the 40-year-old Saito’s “chances of returning to the mound this season, and maybe for his career, are growing dimmer.”
Certainly any time a 40-year-old pitcher has arm problems it could be the end of the line, but Saito has remained an elite reliever this season with a 2.52 ERA, .196 opponents’ batting average, and 69/14 K/BB ratio in 54 innings as Billy Wagner’s primary setup man.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.