This time last year Kendrys Morales was hoping to be ready for Opening Day after missing most of 2010 with a broken ankle, but several setbacks followed and he ended up sitting out the entire season after undergoing a second surgery.
Morales is back in Angels camp now, still essentially rehabbing an injury from two years ago, but told Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles that the ankle “feels a lot better” than it did last spring and he “should be ready” for Opening Day.
Morales has reached “believe it when we see it” status at this point, but revealed that he’s “been running for about four months” already and no longer feels any pain.
Adding his bat to the lineup alongside Albert Pujols would be huge for the Angels, as Morales hit .302 with 45 homers and a .901 OPS in the 203 games immediately preceding the injury. After so much time on the sidelines he can’t be counted on to pick up right where he left off, of course, but even at something less than full strength a reasonably healthy Morales would further complicate the Angels’ first base/corner outfielder/designated hitter logjam.
In other words, Bobby Abreu might not want to unpack.
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.