Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier were back in the Dodgers’ starting lineup last night, but it was Mark Ellis who played hero. Ellis, who recently returned after missing six weeks due to emergency surgery on his leg, delivered a go-ahead two-run homer off Clayton Richard in the bottom of the sixth inning as part of a 2-1 victory over the Padres.
Clayton Kershaw had a rough outing against the Diamondbacks before the All-Star break, but he bounced back last night by tossing six innings of one-run ball. The southpaw struck out six and walked one in the victory and now holds a 2.84 ERA and 125/35 K/BB ratio over 126 2/3 innings. Kenley Jansen danced around a two-out walk for his 16th save. The hard-throwing right-hander hasn’t allowed a run since June 13.
Kemp was 2-for-4 with a double and a single in his return the lineup while Ethier went 0-for-2 with a hit-by-pitch.
The Giants also won last night, so the Dodgers will open play this evening with a slim half-game lead in the National League West.
Your Friday box scores:
Diamondbacks 1, Cubs 8
Tigers 7, Orioles 2
Nationals 5, Marlins 1
Angels 5, Yankees 6
Cardinals 3, Reds 5
Indians 1, Blue Jays 0
Mets 5, Braves 7
Red Sox 3, Rays 1
Pirates 7, Brewers 10
Athletics 6, Twins 3
Phillies 2, Rockies 6
White Sox 9, Royals 8 (14 innings)
Rangers 3, Mariners 2
Astros 1, Giants 5
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2010 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.