Dirk Hayhurst writes about Ryan Braun and the reception he might expect as he makes his way around the bigs in this first post-suspension season:
First basemen will slap tags on him harder, and catchers will—especially now that the home plate collision rules are in their favor—look to put a shin guard down in that ankle-breaking angle. He might even get beaned a time or two.
Yet, as indignant as players proclaim to be and regardless of how much “baseball justice” they dispense, they all understand why Braun did it.
Because baseball pays guys who can hit like Braun upward of $300 million.
Because fans will make a conscious effort to forget the bad you did as long as you produce.
Because players care more about winning than they do about cheating. Even teammates who have been lied to. Especially teammates.
Hayhurst talks about the PED-users he played with in the minors and the truth is that, even if a guy is a cheater, teammates will let it go as long as he’s helping them win.
Which is the same reason Braun got all of those cheers in Milwaukee the other day. The fans feel exactly the same way.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.