Not that there was much doubt in the mind of anyone but Nyjer Morgan, but Ricky Nolasco made it pretty clear today that he didn’t intend to hit Morgan with a pitch earlier this week:
I don’t know what to tell Nyjer. I’m not trying to hit him. What’s happened last year is squashed. If I wanted to hit him, I’d hit him with the first pitch. And why am I going to hit somebody in my first start, trying to catch-up off an injury, on an 0-2 count to lead off the game? I don’t know what else to tell him for him to think differently. I don’t know. I can just tell you, “No, I did not try to hit him.”
I’m not sure how Nolasco actually said it, but I read “I don’t know what to tell Nyjer” in an exasperated tone, which is how a lot of people are increasingly feeling about Morgan on and off the field since around the middle of last season.
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.