It’s now likely that Roberto Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, will pitch with the Indians in the very near future.
Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Hernandez has received his U.S. visa and is scheduled to arrive in Cleveland tonight. He’s scheduled to meet with reporters tomorrow at Progressive Field and will throw a simulated game for the Indians next week.
Hernandez was arrested in January in his native Dominican Republic for falsifying his identity. He reached a deal in March to have the charges dropped in exchange for completing a work program.
While Hernandez will be back in the United States this weekend, he will not join the Indians’ starting rotation right away. Hoynes was told that Hernandez will have to serve a three-week suspension first. The suspension will begin today, so he’ll be eligible to return on August 11.
The Indians were hoping that Hernandez would be able to avoid a suspension altogether, as he agreed this spring to renogotiate his contract and take a cut in guaranteed pay. Still, the punishment isn’t as severe as the eight-week suspension levied to Marlins’ right-hander Juan Carlos Oviedo for falsifying his identity. Hernandez will need three or four tuneup starts in the minors anyway, so the suspension may not have a big impact on his timetable.
Hernandez posted a 5.25 ERA in 32 starts with the Indians last year. He owns a 53-66 record and a 4.59 ERA over six seasons in the majors.
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.