Vladimir Guerrero is 7-for-32 (.219) with one RBI in eight playoff games after hitting just .278/.322/.426 in the second half, but manager Ron Washington made it very clear that he won’t be moving out of the cleanup spot:
That’s the way I ran the lineup all year and it’s going to stay that way. A guy of Vlad’s stature, he’s only one swing away from doing damage. He’s our No. 4 hitter and he’s going to stay that way.
Guerrero was the Rangers’ cleanup hitter in all 145 games he started this season, so Washington declining to make a change in the playoffs is hardly surprising, but with Nelson Cruz hitting well now after out-producing Guerrero by 100 points of OPS during the regular season a change would make plenty of sense.
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.