Shuffling the deck chairs: Dodgers acquire Juan Rivera from Blue Jays, drop Marcus Thames

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I’m not sure if this means the Dodgers think they’re buyers at 41-51 or what, but they’ve acquired Juan Rivera from the Blue Jays for a player to be named later or “cash considerations” while designating Marcus Thames for assignment.

Setting aside the absurdity of the Dodgers sending “cash considerations” to another team–surely the Blue Jays are paying nearly all of Rivera’s remaining salary–Rivera and Thames are about as identical as two players can get, as they’re both defensively challenged, right-handed-hitting corner outfielders with 25-homer power who should be limited to platoon roles facing left-handed pitching.

Rivera is 34 and has a .779 career OPS, Thames is 32 and has a .794 career OPS. Rivera might be slightly better than Thames in a larger role and he’s healthier at the moment, but by swapping them the Dodgers are basically doing nothing. Talk about shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.

Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.

This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.

Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.