Well, this should be fun.
Delmon Young won the ALCS MVP after batting .353 (6-for-17) with two home runs, a double and six RBI against the Yankees, but Tigers manager Jim Leyland won’t have the luxury of the DH spot during the World Series in National League parks. However, he’s prepared to sacrifice some defense in order to keep him in the lineup.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Leyland plans to play Young in left field in National League parks. Of course, the Cardinals or Giants will have home field advantage in the World Series since the National League won the All-Star Game back in July, so the Tigers could play as many as four games on the road.
We could see Young removed for a late-inning defensive replacement, but Leyland appears determined to roll with him as a regular. Andy Dirks has started in left field for all nine of the Tigers’ postseason games, but he could share playing time with Avisail Garcia and Quintin Berry in right field in National League parks.
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.