Mark Ellis Getty

Settling the Score: Friday’s results

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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

James McCann is in The Best Shape of His Life

Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann blows a bubble while warming up during a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.

We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.

James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:

Spring training is less than a month away, folks!

Bo Jackson is not gonna change kids’ minds

1989:  Bo Jackson #16 of the Kansas City Royals practices his swing as he prepares to bat during a game in the 1989 season.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Last week Bo Jackson said that, if he had it to do all over again, he would have never played professional football and that he would never let his kids play. The sport is too violent, he said. “I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.’”

Fair enough. Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, however, thinks that Bo could do more than simply give his opinion on the matter. He thinks Bo should become an official ambassador for Major League Baseball:

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, pick up the phone right now and call Bo Jackson. Tell him you have a job for him — vice president of something, whatever you would call the man in charge of converting a generation of young athletes to baseball. And pay him what he wants.

You won’t find a better symbol of the differences between the two sports than Bo Jackson. After all, he was an All-Star in both. Bo knows football. Bo knows baseball.

Bo, tell the children — baseball over football.

The Children: “Who is Bo Jackson?”

Yeah, I’m being a bit flip here, but dude: Jackson is 54 years-old. He last played baseball 23 years ago. I’d personally run through a wall for Bo Jackson, but I’m 43. I was 12 when he won the Heisman trophy. While he may loom large to middle aged sports writers, a teenager contemplating what sport to play is not going to listen to someone a decade or more older than his parents.

This isn’t terribly important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s indicative of how most columnists process the world through their own experiences and assume they apply universally. It’s probably the biggest trap most sports opinion folks fall into.