Must-click link: What if the season began in July?

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Grant Brisbee friggin’ nails it, with a sampling of the sorts of baseball stories you’d be reading right now if the season began after the All-Star Break instead of back in April. Stuff like:

Bryce Harper: Just Not Ready

… Harper is hitting .176/.276/.265 in 105 at-bats to start the season. How long are the Nationals going to let this go on? Who benefits? Certainly not Harper, whose head must be spinning. Certainly not the Nationals, who have to deal with the equivalent of another pitcher in their lineup. It’s probably about time to end the experiment and start anew.

Not that this will stop us from posting all of those “Are the [City, Mascots] for real?” posts a month into next season. Still, it’s instructive.

Clayton Kershaw struggles with control, walks six Marlins

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.

Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.

The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.