Los Angeles Dodgers Kershaw watches solo home run in eighth inning against San Francisco Giants during MLB National League baseball game in Los Angeles

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


Dodgers 4, Giants, 0: I watched part of this game with my kids after they got home from school. When they were showing the lineups, they showed Clayton Kershaw’s career .146 average and my son asked me why it was so low compared to the other players’. I explained to him that pitchers can’t really bat. I am thankful that we changed it over to the Tigers-Twins game before Kershaw hit that homer because I’d hate for my son to question his father’s wisdom.

Brewers 5, Rockies 4: I saw a guy in Arizona last month wearing a “Lucroy is my homeboy” t-shirt. You earn that shirt with walkoff sac-flies, right?

Cubs 3, Pirates 1: Jeff Samardzija allowed only two hits while striking out nine. And extended a streak, now entering its sixth year, in which I never actually type his name out, preferring instead to copy and paste it. Really, if I ever receive a call from someone telling me they’ve taken a loved one hostage and to free them I have to spell “Samardzija,” they’re pretty much already dead.

Mets 11, Padres 2: The Mets continue to kick butt in home openers, this being their 20th win in their last 22 Opening Days at Shea/Citi. Jon Niese pitched effectively into the seventh, had two hits, an RBI and scored a run. But really, I’m still telling my kids pitchers can’t hit.

Tigers 4, Twins 2: So cold that Justin Verlander actually wore a long-sleeved shirt under his jersey. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen that. But by far the coolest thing in the whole game was when Prince Fielder scored from third on a wild pitch. That man may be big, but he friggin’ moves. I bet he’s faster than several other first baseman in the game which, given his size, would not be something that would get you good betting odds. But I bet it’s true.

Nationals 2, Marlins 0: Harper + Strasburg = wins. That’s an equation that’s gonna hold together for several years. Two homers for the guy I picked to be the NL MVP mere hours before the first pitch of the game. Keep making me look smart, Bryce, and I’m gonna say even more nice things about you.

White Sox 1, Royals 0: Chris Sale outduels James Shields, pitching seven and two-thirds of shutout ball. Tyler Flowers’ homer was all the support he needed.

Red Sox 8, Yankees 2: Just a whole lot of blah for New York. It’s way, way too early to worry about CC Sabathia — anyone remember how bad he started out in 2008? And in a lot of other years — but in a year when the Yankees HAVE to have the rotation come through for them, this is not encouraging. Neither is a 3:37 game time for a ballgame this sloppy. But for two teams undergoing so much roster upheaval lately, that has to be some sort of comforting bit of continuity, yes?

Angels 3, Reds 1: Chris Iannetta was the hero, hitting a solo homer in the third and a bases-loaded single in the 13th inning to account for all of the Halos’ runs. Guessing Mike Scioscia and Dusty Baker were not really planning on Game One taking 12 pitchers between them. Insert that thing about battle plans never surviving engagement with the enemy.

Braves 7, Phillies 5: Three homers off Cole Hamels for Atlanta, which is pretty much how the Braves rolled all spring training and which is pretty much how most of their wins will go down this year. All season there will likely be a lot of feast/famine, methinks. Oh, and Fredi Gonzalez intentionally walked Michael Young once. That actually happened.

Diamondbacks 6, Cardinals 2: Arizona rattled out 15 hits — seven of which were doubles — giving the newly-extended Adam Wainwright a bad first game of the rest of his life. Meanwhile, Ian Kennedy allowed only two hits over seven innings while striking out eight. Gerardo Parra had three of those doubles in his four hits.

Mariners 2, Athletics 0: Felix Hernandez had a much better night among the newly-extended pitchers: seven and two-thirds innings, no runs, two hits, eight strikeouts. Both M’s runs came on a Franklin Gutierrez double. This may be the only day of the season Gutierrez isn’t suffering from some mystery ailment or 19th century disease, but it is nice to see him play when he is healthy.

Indians could benefit from long rest before the World Series

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 09: Danny Salazar #31 of the Cleveland Indians delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on September 9, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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If any team can turn a six-day rest period into an advantage, it’s the Indians. The club polished off their pennant race with another injured starter and an overtaxed bullpen, as Trevor Bauer exited in Game 3 of the ALCS with a laceration on his right pinky finger, leaving the bullpen to shoulder 16 innings through the last three games of the series. On Friday, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reported that injured starter Danny Salazar could rejoin the rotation in the World Series, though he’ll need at least one more simulated game before Terry Francona determines whether or not he’s fit to return for the team’s last postseason push.

Bauer, who has been under the close watch of hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham, told the press that he feels confident that he’ll be ready for a World Series start when the final showdown commences on Tuesday. Keeping the wound bandaged is not an option during games, and Bauer said that Dr. Graham decided against additional stitches to keep the laceration from re-opening. Instead, they’re banking on extra days of rest to heal the cut naturally. Should Francona pencil the right-hander into the lineup for Game 3 or 4, he’ll have had 10-11 days to rest his finger between starts — just a hair under the seven games Bauer said he was prepared to pitch.

Salazar, too, has been preparing for a World Series showdown. He’s scheduled to pitch three innings of a simulated game this weekend, and if it goes well, it could land him a spot in the starting rotation alongside Bauer, Corey Kluber, Josh Tomlin, and newcomer Ryan Merritt. Salazar has been sidelined since September 9 with a right forearm strain, and even after undergoing a rigorous throwing program over the last several weeks, any kind of comeback is expected to be curbed by a strict innings limit. Francona has been understandably tight-lipped about his World Series roster, but he hasn’t yet nixed the idea of utilizing Salazar out of the rotation, provided the right-hander remains healthy for another week or so.

The Indians have had to remain flexible throughout their seven-game playoff run after weathering injuries to Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer, pushing their rotation through several games on short rest and relying heavily on Andrew Miller and Cody Allen‘s one-two punch in the ‘pen to clinch more than a few postseason victories. While history doesn’t always favor the first team to secure their league’s pennant race, an extra week of rest should only benefit Cleveland’s beleaguered pitching staff.

Lloyd McClendon will return as Tigers’ hitting coach in 2017

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 05:  Manager Lloyd McClendon #21 of the Seattle Mariners looks on from the dugout against the Oakland Athletics in the top of the six inning at O.co Coliseum on July 5, 2015 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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The Tigers will promoted Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon to hitting coach for the 2017 season, according to a statement released by the team on Friday afternoon.

McClendon’s history with the Tigers is long and storied. After serving five seasons as the Pittsburgh Pirates’ hitting coach and manager, he got his start with Detroit in 2006 as a bullpen coach, then transitioned to hitting coach from 2007 through 2013. When the Tigers hired Brad Ausmus to replace former manager Jim Leyland, McClendon took the opportunity to break from the team and pursue another managerial position of his own with the Seattle Mariners, whom he guided to a 163-161 record between the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

Following his departure from Seattle during the 2015 offseason, McClendon took a spot as skipper of the Tigers’ Triple-A club, managing the Toledo Mud Hens to a 68-76 finish in 2016. His return to the big league stage is accompanied by the hiring of assistant hitting coach Leon Durham, who previously served as the long-tenured hitting coach for Triple-A Toledo.