Jim Henderson had been pitching pretty well since being demoted from closer to setup man by the Brewers and came into yesterday’s game with a 3.38 ERA on the season. He exited the game with a 7.15 ERA (and a loss), allowing five runs while recording two outs against the Reds.
And now Milwaukee has placed Henderson on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation.
Henderson has had some issues maintaining peak velocity, but that wasn’t really a huge problem yesterday as he averaged 93.6 miles per hour with his fastball and topped out at 95 mph. That’s a slight dip from his peak levels, but hardly enough of a drop to scream injury.
Francisco Rodriguez has been flawless in the closer role, converting a league-leading 13 saves with a 0.00 ERA and 23/4 K/BB ratio in 16 innings, so Henderson wasn’t going to get his job back anytime soon anyway. And the Brewers’ bullpen has been so ridiculously good as a whole that moving everyone up one notch on the relief hierarchy may work out just fine in Henderson’s absence.
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.