Jeff Francis asked for and got his release from a minor-league contract with the Reds and the 30-year-old left-hander has quickly returned to where his career started, signing with the Rockies.
And now only that, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports that Francis will immediately jump into the Rockies’ rotation and start Saturday versus the Angels at Coors Field.
Francis was the Rockies’ first-round pick in 2002 and his relatively modest career numbers rank among the franchise’s best by a pitcher, but he hasn’t been healthy and effective in the same season since 2007. That year he went 17-9 with a 4.22 ERA in 34 starts for the Rockies, but in the five years since then he’s started a total of 74 games with a 14-32 record and 4.93 ERA.
Francis was solid but unspectacular for the Reds at Triple-A, posting a 3.72 ERA and 65/18 K/BB ratio in 77 innings. He also served up six homers and allowed opponents to hit .286, so while Francis may be one of the few pitchers who don’t mind working at Coors Field the reunion might not go so smoothly.
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.