The Twins put an end to catcher Joe Mauer’s season on Friday due to a case of pneumonia.
Now it’s Justin Morneau’s turn.
According to Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire acknowledged on a radio program Sunday that his first baseman is unlikely to return this year due to ongoing complications related to a severe concussion that he suffered in mid-2010.
Morneau began experiencing renewed symptoms (like headaches and dizziness) late last month after diving for a ball near first base. Those symptoms are being labeled as “mild,” but the Twins’ medical staff knows better than to push it with a major head injury that has already cost the player over four months.
Morneau struggled mightily this year, batting just .227/.285/.333 with four home runs, 16 doubles and 30 RBI in 69 games. There’s no telling if he’ll ever fully recover from that July 2010 collision at second base.
UPDATE, 12:29pm: Mackey has confirmed that Morneau has indeed been shut down for the year. The first baseman is also scheduled to undergo a minor procedure to remove a cyst from his left knee.
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.