UPDATE: Brantley hit a double in the top of the 7th. The streak lives on.
2:30 PM: Things no one apart from Indians fans seemed to realize: Indians outfielder Michael Brantley has a 20-game hitting steak going. That’s tied for the longest in baseball this season and the longest Indian streak since Casey Blake hit in 26 straight in 2007. During that time Brantley is hitting .346 with 15 RBIs.
But as of this post going live, it’s in danger. The Indians are playing the Reds as we speak and, as of the bottom of the fifth, Brantley is 0 for 3. The ball is flying all over Great American Ballpark, though — the Reds are leading the Tribe 9-3 and there have been 21 hits so far — so there’s hope.
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.