Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw was ejected from Wednesday night’s game against the Diamondbacks for hitting Arizona outfielder Gerardo Parra with a pitch in the top of the sixth inning.
Some backstory to this one: The plunking came nearly 24 hours after Parra struck a pose and exchanged words with Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis following a seventh-inning home run Tuesday night. Parra was nearly struck in the head by a pitch just before he went yard, and he yucked it up all the way to home plate. Kershaw was shown by television cameras jawing at the D’Backs bench soon after, and a yelling match ensued for a minute or two. The umps obviously took notice.
Kershaw had allowed just one hit through five scoreless frames on Wednesday night against the first-place Snakes. He was at five strikeouts and had issued no walks. The 23-year-old ace was shutting down a first-place club in the middle of a Cy Young chase, and in front of his own fans in Los Angeles.
Which is why home plate umpire Tim Welke is now baseball’s enemy No. 1. If, you know, we’re basing that ranking on Twitter outrage. (Seriously, click here. Even the level-headed Joe Sheehan is fired up).
Welke didn’t issue a warning. Not before the game, and not after Kershaw struck Parra — instead opting for the immediate toss. Also, the pitch wasn’t all that inside. It barely grazed Parra’s elbow.
Kershaw put himself in a bad spot with Welke and crew for arguing cross-field on Tuesday night with half of the D’Backs roster, but Welke could have done a more thorough job of considering the circumstances.
It’s sadly almost unprecedented, but some discipline for the ump (this time) would seem to be in order.
With Game 6 of the NLCS just hours away, the Dodgers will opt for a lefty-heavy lineup against right-hander Kyle Hendricks. Batting leadoff is rookie outfielder Andrew Toles, who made one appearance at the top of the lineup during the 2016 season. The Cubs, meanwhile, will bench Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.. This will be Almora’s first start of the playoffs, and while he has yet to face Kershaw in October, his right-handed bat could play well against the lefty at the bottom of the lineup.
Game time is scheduled for 8 PM EDT; lineups are below.
1. Andrew Toles (L) LF
6. Wilson Contreras (R) C
8. Albert Almora Jr. (R) RF
9. Kyle Hendricks (R) RHP
UPDATE, 5:08 PM EDT: Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon will not rule out a World Series appearance for Kyle Schwarber if the Cubs advance. MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports that Schwarber could play through a simulated game on Sunday, during which the Cubs’ medical and baseball staff would evaluate his chances for a late season return. If he does play, it will likely be in a pinch-hitting or DH role and not on the field.
Cubs’ outfielder Kyle Schwarber will return to the playing field on Saturday, per a report by the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales. The club’s prized left fielder suffered a season-ending injury when he collided with Dexter Fowler back in April, tearing both his ACL and LCL and undergoing intensive knee surgery later that month.
While no nerve damage was discovered during the surgery, the Cubs have kept a close eye on Schwarber during his recovery and put a kibosh on any part-time or full-time role with the team until the spring of 2017. Getting a few reps in during the Arizona Fall League appears to be the last step in the 23-year-old’s rehab process. He will be part of the Mesa Solar Sox’ ‘taxi squad,’ making him eligible for games on Wednesdays and Saturdays only.
Schwarber batted .246/.355/.487 with 16 in 69 games with the Cubs during his debut season in 2015. He will be added to the Mesa Solar Sox roster in advance of their set against the Salt River Rafters on Saturday evening.