Clayton Kershaw shuts down Marlins, lowers ERA to 1.72

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Clayton Kershaw did what you’d expect him to do against the lowly Marlins this afternoon, tossing eight shutout innings versus a lineup featuring two guys slugging above .385.

In doing so Kershaw lowered his ERA to 1.72, which would be the fourth-lowest among all pitchers with 150 or more innings since the mound was lowered in 1969:

Dwight Gooden     1985     1.53
Greg Maddux       1994     1.56
Greg Maddux       1995     1.63
CLAYTON KERSHAW   2013     1.72
Pedro Martinez    2000     1.74
Ron Guidry        1978     1.74

Also of note: Dating back to 1969 the only left-handed pitchers with 150-plus innings and a sub-2.00 ERA are Ron Guidry, Vida Blue, Wilbur Wood, John Tudor, and Steve Carlton. This is the third straight season in which Kershaw has led the National League in ERA and his career mark of 2.61 is the lowest of any starting pitcher in the post-1969 era.

Steven Matz likely to start season on DL; Zack Wheeler to adhere to innings limit

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Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.

On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.

Rockies sign 30-year lease to stay in Coors Field

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Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies agreed to a $200 million, 30-year lease with the Metropolitan Baseball Stadium District, which is the state division that owns Coors Field. As part of the deal, the Rockies will lease and develop a plot of land south of the stadium, which will cost the team $125 million for 99 years.

As Groke points out, had the Rockies not reached a deal by Thursday, March 30, the lease would have rolled over for five more years.

Rockies owner Dick Monfort issued a statement, saying, “We are proud that Coors Field will continue to be a vital part of a vibrant city, drawing fans from near and far and making our Colorado residents proud.”

The Rockies moved into Coors Field in 1995. It is the National League’s third oldest stadium. In that span of time, the Rockies have made the playoffs three times, the last coming in 2009 when they lost in the NLDS to the Phillies. The Rockies were swept in the 2007 World Series by the Red Sox.