Johnny Cueto only threw eight pitches in Game 1 of the NLDS on Saturday because of back spasms. Because of the nearly non-outing, there was hope that he could come back to pitch Game 3. That’s not happening, though: last night Dusty Baker announced that it would be Homer Bailey.
The Reds are being cautious with Cueto, wanting to make sure that he doesn’t have another short, bullpen-taxing outing. Also at work here: the luxury of having a two-game lead in a five-game series allowing the Reds this extra room to operate.
Oh, and of course the guy who will be getting the ball threw a no-hitter ten days ago, so there’s that.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.