Cliff Lee in Game 4? Too soon!

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Ron Washington, not surprisingly, was asked today if he plans on using Cliff Lee in Game 4 on three days’ rest. He, not surprisingly, wouldn’t say one way or the other.

My view of this is that asking the Cliff Lee question today is premature.  Even if Washington knows in his heart that he’s going to bring back Cliff Lee on short rest for Game 4, he’s not going to say anything about until the end of Game 3, is he? Does this not become a totally different series if Colby Lewis shuts down the Giants tomorrow? Wouldn’t Washington like the option to change his mind? What purpose would it serve for Washington to even comment on it, because implicit in the question — or explicit in a followup — is an assumption of a loss in Game 3, which is nothing a manager is ever going to touch.

Either way, it’s unlikely in my view that Washington uses Lee in Game 4. Lee has never done it and rumor has it that he was not at all receptive to even the suggestion of it when he pitched for the Phillies last year.  I think it’s Lewis and Hunter and if the Rangers die before they get back to Lee’s slot in the rotation, well, then they die.

Clayton Kershaw could return on September 1

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Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been out since July 24 with a lower back strain. He’s slated to throw a three-inning simulated game in Pittsburgh on Monday, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Plunkett adds that if all goes well, the earliest Kershaw could return is August 31 against the Diamondbacks, but September 1 is more likely against the Padres.

Kershaw, 29, hit the disabled list on a pace to win his fourth Cy Young Award. He’s 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.

The Dodgers have managed just fine without Kershaw. The club is 19-4 since July 24. At 87-35, the Dodgers own baseball’s best record, well ahead of the second-best Astros at 76-48.

Ian Kinsler was fined for ripping umpires publicly. Brad Ausmus says it’s the largest fine he’s seen in 25 years.

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Last week, Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was ejected from a game against the Rangers after giving home plate umpire Angel Hernandez a look after a pitch was thrown outside for a ball. Kinsler was apparently unhappy with calls Hernandez had made earlier. Manager Brad Ausmus, too, was ejected.

After the game, Kinsler said that Hernandez “needs to find another job.” He added, “…he needs to stop ruining baseball games.”

Kinsler was fined by Major League Baseball for his remarks, Mlive’s Evan Woodbery reports. According to Ausmus, the fine levied on Kinsler was the largest one he’s seen in nearly 25 years in baseball. Kinsler said, “I said what I felt and what I thought. If they take offense to that, then that’s their problem.” Ausmus said, “To single out one player as a union is completely uncalled for.”

As Ashley noted on Saturday, the umpires wore white wristbands to protest “escalating attacks on umpires.” The umpires agreed to drop their protest on Sunday after commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with the umpire union’s governing board, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reports.