The Rockies are known more for late-season charges than they are fast beginnings. In fact, they’ve had a losing record in April in each of the last four seasons. But that could all change this year.
As Jack Etkin at Inside The Rockies notes, the club plays only three games in April against a team that had a record better than .500 last season.
The Rox kick off their 2011 schedule with a series against the Diamondbacks (65-97), then come the Dodgers (80-82), Pirates (57-105), Mets (79-83), Cubs (75-87), Giants (92-70), Marlins (80-82), Cubs and Pirates. Only the World Series champion Giants finished in the black in 2010.
Baseball is a weird sport — hard to predict, at least — and anything can happen, but all signs point to the young and talented Rockies getting off to a healthy start this season. It would be a refreshing sight for Colorado fans, who have watched the team go 189-221 in April since first forming 18 years ago.
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.
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.