The Braves got on the board against Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw in the fourth inning, but they were unable to make it a big inning.
Freddie Freeman reached on a one-out single to right field before Evan Gattis worked out a walk. The next batter Brian McCann came very close to a three-run homer, but Carl Crawford was able to catch up to it at the warning track in left field. Chris Johnson then singled to center field to drive in the first run of the game for the Braves, but Kershaw was able to strike out Andrelton Simmons swinging to end the threat and stand runners at first and third. Wasting opportunities against Kershaw is not a recipe for success.
Kershaw hasn’t been on his A-game so far, as he has already thrown 77 pitches over four innings, but the Dodgers still have themselves a comfortable 5-1 lead as we head to the fifth.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.