The composition of the Braves’ postseason rotation could go a variety of ways depending upon how much progress Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens make over the next three weeks.
While Hanson is currently sidelined with a small undersurface rotator cuff tear in his right shoulder, it sounds like he’s a lot closer to returning than Jurrjens. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Hanson reported no discomfort after throwing from a distance of 120 feet Monday. He is at least one week away from a rehab start, but hopes to make one or two starts with the Braves before the regular season comes to a close.
The news isn’t nearly as rosy for Jurrjens. While Dr. Richard Steadman in Colorado confirmed the original diagnosis of a bone bruise in his right knee and ruled out any structural damage, the right-hander was advised to not throw off a mound for two weeks. The Braves haven’t ruled him out, but this would seem to give him little time to prepare in order to be a part of the NLDS roster. Jurrjens had arthroscopic surgery on the same knee last October and missed the playoffs.
The Braves currently have Tim Hudson, Derek Lowe and Brandon Beachy as locks for the postseason rotation and would likely fill the fourth spot with rookie left-hander Mike Minor if Jurrjens and Hanson are unable to return.
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.