UPDATE: Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that X-rays on Morse’s hand came back negative. He’ll likely have to miss a few days, but it looks like the Nats caught a break.
8:09 PM: The Nationals just announced that Morse left the game with a right hand contusion. We’ll likely hear more on his status after the game.
7:40 PM: Scary moment tonight for the first-place Nationals.
From Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com comes word that Michael Morse left tonight’s game against the Phillies in the first inning after being hit in the right hand by a pitch from Phillies’ right-hander Kyle Kendrick. He was in quite a deal of pain when he left the field and was replaced by Roger Bernadina on the basepaths and in left field.
Losing Morse for an extended period of time would obviously be quite a blow to the Nationals’ offense, which has really clicked over the past two months. The 30-year-old didn’t make his season debut this year until June 2 due to a strained lat muscle, but he’s hitting .286/.316/.459 with 12 home runs, 45 RBI and a .775 OPS in 73 games played.
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.