With six outfielders on the disabled list and Kevin Youkilis coming off the shelf the Red Sox have gotten creative for tonight’s game against the Orioles, shifting Adrian Gonzalez to right field so Youkilis can play first base and Will Middlebrooks can remain at third base.
Gonzalez, Youkilis, and Middlebrooks are batting 4-5-6 in Boston’s lineup versus left-hander Brian Matusz.
Gonzalez is a three-time Gold Glove winner at first base, but he’s previously started five games in right field and the Red Sox are more comfortable using him out there than a banged-up Youkilis. Middlebrooks is hitting .297 with five homers, six doubles, and a .906 OPS in 18 games overall and Boston’s lineup can’t afford to lose another capable bat by sending him back to Triple-A.
Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that Mets starter Steven Matz has been pitching through pain for most of the season. He may need surgery to fix a nerve issue in his elbow. Matz was sidelined in spring training with an elbow injury and made his regular season debut on June 10.
Matz, 26, has struggled over 13 starts, posting a 6.08 ERA with a 48/19 K/BB ratio in 66 2/3 innings. Many were scrambling for explanations for his pitching woes and now they have it.
According to Carig, the Mets let Matz skip his bullpen sessions to help him pitch through the pain. Given the Mets’ shoddy history of dealing with injuries, that’s not a good look for the club.
Carig noted on Twitter that Jacob deGrom offers some optimism for Matz’s case. deGrom underwent right elbow surgery to repair ulnar nerve damage last September and bounced back to have a great season this year.
Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw was scheduled to throw three innings in a simulated game on Monday. That simulated game went so well, he threw an extra inning, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Kershaw will make a minor league rehab start next and could be activated towards the end of next week.
Kershaw, 29, has been on the disabled list since July 24 with a lower back strain. That put the pause button on another outstanding season. He’s carrying a 15-2 record with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.
The 87-35 Dodgers have run away with the NL West, needing some combination of 20 wins and 20 Rockies losses (19 for the third-place Diamondbacks) to officially clinch the division. While the Dodgers are all but mathematically assured of reaching postseason baseball, the club would still like to get Kershaw as ready as possible over the next month-plus.