The Rays were hoping that Evan Longoria would be ready to return at some point this week, but his rehab is now on hold following a setback with his partially torn left hamstring.
Longoria, who began a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham on Saturday, was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the third inning last night. According to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays said Longoria didn’t want to push it after feeling soreness as he ran to first base.
Longoria later wrote on his Twitter account that it “wasn’t a reinjury” and that he just “didn’t want to end up doing further harm.” However, he will rejoin the Rays today in D.C. and is now sidelined indefinitely.
Longoria was batting .329/.433/.561 with four home runs, 19 RBI and a .994 OPS in 97 plate appearances prior to the initial injury in late April. The Rays have gone 22-21 during his absence and currently sit at 37-29 on the year, four games behind the surging Yankees in the American League East.
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.