Jonathan Broxton melts down, blows game in 12th


Jonathan Broxton struck out the side Sunday to earn his first save for the Royals. His outing Wednesday didn’t go so well.

After Oakland’s Seth Smith reached on an Alcides Escobar error in the 12th, Broxton walked two batters and hit two more to take a blown save and a loss in a 5-4 game.

Broxton retired the first batter he faced prior to Escobar’s miscue. After the two walks, the tying run scored on a groundout and Broxton was in position to still send the game to the 13th. Only then he plunked Yoenis Cespedes and Jonny Gomes with back-to-back pitches, ending the contest.

Broxton, who was signed to set up for Joakim Soria, has looked pretty shaky since the beginning of the spring and doesn’t seem long for the closer’s role in Kansas City. Greg Holland is probably next in line, and Aaron Crow, who started games this spring before being shifted back to the pen, could also be an option. Crow actually got a save Tuesday for pitching a scoreless seventh inning in a 3-0 game called in the top of the eighth.

Clayton Kershaw completes spring training with a 0.00 ERA

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Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.

In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.

The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.

The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.