It wasn’t a walkoff because the Tigers were on the road. Politics, man. Sheesh. But it was a two-run homer in the ninth to win the game for the Tigers by catcher Alex Avila, and that’s something. Jose Veras, the man who gave up the bomb, described it:
“Sometimes things don’t go your way. That is a hitter that has been hitting .160-something, .170 and .150 against the fastball. He hit a pitch down and away out of the ballpark. You can’t say anything to it other than he made good contact.”
The Tigers have to hope that this is a turning point for Avila, who has been pretty awful at the plate so far this year. That homer was his fourth, but he’s otherwise hitting a paltry .179/.247/.333.
Meanwhile, the Astros have dropped eight of nine. I’m going to create a macro for that sentence, by the way, as I figure I’ll be using it a lot between now and September.
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.