Astros hire Jeff Luhnow as general manager

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According to MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, the Astros have hired Cardinals executive Jeff Luhnow to be their next general manager.

Luhnow had been serving as the Redbirds’ vice president of scouting and player development, and was instrumental in turning around a Cardinals farm system that was once devoid of quality depth.

It’s a great hire for the Astros, but Luhnow faces the ultimate uphill battle in Houston.

The ‘Stros don’t have much in the way of promising talent at the major league level and have only recently begun to rebuild their minor league system, which was largely ignored under the previous regime.

As long as the support from new owner Jim Crane is there, Luhnow is plenty equipped to get the franchise back on the right track. But it’s likely going to have to be part of a six- or seven-year plan.

Clayton Kershaw struggles with control, walks six Marlins

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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.