From Ben Nicholson-Smith of Canada’s Sportsnet.ca comes word that the Blue Jays have activated closer Casey Janssen off the 15-day disabled list in time for Sunday’s afternoon tilt against the Angels.
Infielder Chris Getz was designated for assignment in a corresponding move to clear out a roster spot.
Janssen wound up missing the first six weeks of the 2014 season because of an abdominal strain that he suffered near the end of spring training. Sergio Santos was the Blue Jays’ fill-in closer for all of April but got booted from that role eight days ago.
Janssen, one of the more underrated relief pitchers in baseball, owns an outstanding 2.46 ERA (172 ERA+), 0.977 WHIP, and 170/38 K/BB ratio in 172 innings since the beginning of the 2011 season.
I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.
Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.
This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.
Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.