Tsuyoshi Nishioka hasn’t played since going 0-for-12 with a half-dozen fielding mistakes in last week’s three-game series against the Indians and not surprisingly the Twins have optioned him back to Triple-A.
The move was made to clear a roster spot for Trevor Plouffe’s return from the disabled list, as the slugging third baseman has missed the past three weeks with thumb problems.
Nishioka was as bad as a major leaguer could possibly look and it’s unclear why the Twins bothered to call him up in the first place considering he was awful at Triple-A this season and terrible in the majors last season. Whatever the case, we’ve probably seen the last of him in a Twins uniform and perhaps the last of him in the majors, although by optioning Nishioka to the minors instead of designating him for assignment the Twins have left him on the 40-man roster.
Nishioka has hit .215 with zero homers and a .503 OPS in 71 games for the Twins while making 15 errors defensively. He’s owed $3 million next season as part of a $15 million investment by Minnesota.
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.