A guy on my Facebook feed who happens to be a Phillies fan wrote this as his status this morning:
37 days until Aces and catchers report!
Clever. But I gotta ask: is anyone sick of this rebop yet?
I know I sure am. I mean, I appreciate how excited Phillies fans are about 2011, but you’d think that they’d wait for something good to actually happen on a baseball field before they start crowing. Last I checked their hitters were made to look silly by the Giants and now they’re down one of the best of that bunch and plan on replacing him with a guy who got cut from his Winter Ball team. They watched the World Series at home just like 27 other teams did.
I think the Phillies will win the NL East and should probably win it easily. But if history has taught us anything, it’s that no one wins jack in January.
And yeah, I’m biased and a little bit envious of their pitching riches and I know that it doesn’t wear particularly well on a person. But neither does hubris.
At the trade deadline, relief pitching is the name of the game and one of the names clearly available is Pat Neshek. Today Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Nationals, Dodgers, and Red Sox are among the clubs who are closely scouting the Phillies reliever. Last week Ken Rosenthal reported that the Brewers and Rays were involved as well.
Neshek is an impending free agent, so he may come cheaper than Justin Wilson or some of the other bullpen arms available right now. The All-Star is 36 and is posting a fantastic season, featuring a 1.12 ERA and 45/5 K/BB ratio over 40.1 innings this season.
Some seriously bad news for the Dodgers: Ken Rosenthal reports that the initial prognosis on Clayton Kershaw is that he will miss 4-6 weeks with his bad back. A final determination will be made after he gets a second medical consultation.
Kershaw exited Sunday’s start against the Braves with back tightness after just two innings of work. He was seen talking with trainers in the dugout after completing the top of the second inning and did not return to the mound for the third. Kershaw has a history of back problems. Last year he missed over two months with a herniated disc in his back.
Assuming the preliminary schedule holds, Kershaw would be on the shelf until late August at the earliest, but more likely early-to-mid September. The Dodgers currently hold a 10.5 game lead in the NL West so they can withstand his absence. But if they have any hopes of advancing in the playoffs, they’ll need a fully armed and operational Clayton Kershaw to do it.