Last night’s matchup between Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale had all the makings of a classic pitchers’ duel. But as it often happens in this game, things didn’t exactly turn out as expected.
Adam Dunn set the tone early by slugging a two-run homer off Kershaw in the top of the first inning. It was his major league-leading 23rd homer of the season and the fourth of his career against Kershaw. No other player has more than two against the 2011 National League Cy Young award winner. Kershaw ended up allowing five runs (four earned) over six innings.
Sale actually carried a four-run cushion into the bottom of the sixth, but he was chased after giving up two runs on three hits and a walk. The young southpaw was replaced by Jesse Crain, who allowed a two-run double to Elian Herrera and an RBI single to Juan Rivera which put the Dodgers in front. Sale ended up being charged with a season-high five runs over 5 2/3 innings. It was the first time he had allowed more than two runs in a start since May 12.
Even though the Kershaw-Sale matchup didn’t live up to the billing, this was still a very entertaining ballgame. After the White Sox pulled even in the top of the eighth on Alex Rios’ second homer of the night, the Dodgers took the lead in the bottom half of the frame when James Loney scampered home on a wild pitch thrown by left-hander Matt Thornton. Kenley Jansen then tossed a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to finish off the 7-6 victory.
The Dodgers still own the best record in the majors at 41-24 and currently lead the Giants by four games in the National League West.
Your Friday box scores:
Red Sox 0, Cubs 3
Pirates 0, Indians 2
Rockies 12, Tigers 4 (10 innings)
Yankees 7, Nationals 2
Phillies 0, Blue Jays 3
Marlins 0, Rays 11
Orioles 2, Braves 4
Astros 2, Rangers 6
Brewers 5, Twins 3
Royals 3, Cardinals 2
Diamondbacks 5, Angels 0
Reds 7, Mets 3
Padres 2, Athletics 10
Giants 4, Mariners 2
With Game 1 of the Red Sox-Indians ALDS set to commence on Thursday, there’s no better starter for the job than Corey Kluber. The only question is whether or not the right-hander will be up to the task after sustaining a mild quadriceps strain earlier this week.
Indians’ manager Terry Francona appeared optimistic about Kluber’s chances of recovering in time for the Division Series, but admitted that he doesn’t have his rotation set in stone for the first couple of postseason games. Complicating matters is Monday’s potential make-up game between the Indians and the Tigers, which they’ll be forced to play if the outcome has bearing on playoff seeding.
Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Francona doesn’t have a starter for the make-up game, either, though he clarified that rehabbing right-hander Danny Salazar would not be eligible. Salazar is still working his way back from a forearm injury in hopes of joining the Indians for their postseason run, and needs to toss another simulated game before he can be expected to return to the mound. Kluber, meanwhile, will throw off the mound on Sunday.
With Kluber or Salazar limping out of the gate, the Indians will likely have to fall back on right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Bauer is slated for Saturday’s face-off against the Royals and confirmed his willingness to pitch on short rest through the playoffs. The 25-year-old also spoke to the Indians about his ability to pitch out of the bullpen, though it’s an option they appear unlikely to exercise. While Francona’s comments on Friday stressed the club’s patient approach toward their rotation, Bauer appeared revved and ready to go:
If it was up to me, […] I’d pitch and be ready to start or be available out of the ‘pen every game. In the playoffs, there’s really no reason to save anything. So, whenever I can get in there, whenever they want me to get in there, I’ll be ready.
Matt Holliday might not have a landing spot with the Cardinals in 2017, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to hang his cleats up just yet. Prior to the Cardinals’ afternoon set against the Pirates on Saturday, the 36-year-old expressed his desire to further his career elsewhere, even if staying in St. Louis is not a possibility.
It’s been a down year for the outfielder, who batted .242/.318/.450 through 107 games before landing on the disabled list with a fractured right thumb. His 0.6 fWAR is the lowest mark of his career to date. Notwithstanding two injury-riddled seasons (he was sidelined through most of 2015 with a right quadriceps strain), he’s performed admirably for the Cardinals over the past eight years, putting up a .292/.379/.494 batting line, 156 home runs, and 26.8 fWAR with the club. With a return to full health, he might not be on the market for long.