Dallas Braden to undergo another shoulder surgery

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Dallas Braden hasn’t pitched in a major league game since April 16, 2011. And now his absence will stretch into the 2013 campaign.

According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, Athletics manager Bob Melvin said this afternoon that Braden will undergo a second surgery on his left shoulder.

Braden has been sidelined all season following surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule muscle in his left shoulder last May. The 29-year-old left-hander was still hoping to return in September as of a month ago, but his shoulder simply hasn’t responded as hoped. Melvin said that he’s set for “exploratory” surgery, so the extent of the damage isn’t yet known.

Braden owns a 4.16 ERA over parts of five seasons in the majors. He had a 3.50 ERA over 30 starts with the Athletics in 2010, a season highlighted by his perfect game against the Rays on Mother’s Day.

Braden is under team control through 2013, but it’s worth noting that he earned $3.35 million this season in arbitration. Given his shoulder issues, it could be a tough call to tender him a contract this winter.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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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.