Don Mincher: 1938-2012

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Don Mincher, who played 13 seasons in the majors and made a pair of All-Star teams as a slugging first baseman, passed away last night at age 73 in Alabama.

Mincher served as president of the Double-A Southern League until retiring last year due to health problems and was previously general manager of the league’s Huntsville team.

Signed by the White Sox in 1956, he was traded to the Senators (who later became the Twins) along with Earl Battey for Roy Sievers in 1960. Six years later the Twins traded Mincher to the Angels in a deal for Dean Chance and a couple years after that the Seattle Pilots snagged him in the expansion draft.

Mincher’s raw numbers (200 homers, .798 OPS) don’t look spectacular by today’s standards because he spent most of his career in the extremely low-scoring 1960s, but he produced an adjusted OPS+ of 127 in 4,725 plate appearances. To put that in some context, Don Mattingly had a 127 OPS+ in 7,722 plate appearances.

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.