Shaun Marcum is still dealing with shoulder soreness

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Shaun Marcum was bothered by some shoulder stiffness late last week, but the Brewers still had him penciled in to make his Cactus League debut this Saturday against the Giants. Not anymore.

Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that Marcum felt continued discomfort playing catch over the past two days and was scratched from Saturday’s start after being examined by team physician Dr. William Raasch.

The setback means that Marcum will not have a chance to get fully stretched out during spring training, but Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke hasn’t ruled him out for the start of the season.

“He won’t be stretched out to 90 pitches, but if we get him to 75 pitches, we feel pretty good about him going into the season,” Roenicke said.

It’s worth noting that Marcum skipped a start last spring with shoulder tightness, but managed to start the season on time and posted an outstanding 2.21 ERA and 34/11 K/BB ratio across 36 2/3 innings over six April starts. The Brewers are naturally hoping they’ll have similar luck this year.

UPDATE: Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Marcum has been shut down for the next 2-3 three days, likely after receiving a cortisone injection. However, the Brewers remain confident that he’ll be ready for the start of the regular season.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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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.