Miguel Olivo is back from the disabled list after missing the past four weeks with a groin injury and the Mariners created a spot on the roster for his return by optioning outfielder Casper Wells to Triple-A.
That means, despite some speculation to the contrary and plenty of fans calling for his job, Chone Figgins remains on the roster.
Figgins began the season as Seattle’s starting left fielder and showed some signs of early life with back-to-back three-hit games, but he’s hit .133 in 25 games since then and was eventually benched by manager Eric Wedge.
Olivo wasn’t exactly lighting up the league before his injury either, hitting .210 with a .575 OPS and hideous 18/2 K/BB ratio, but he’ll likely resume playing regularly behind the plate with Jesus Montero shifting back into more of a designated hitter role and John Jaso fighting for playing time scraps.
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.