Nick Franklin’s last call-up to the Mariners was very brief, but he’s been crushing Triple-A pitching all season after losing his starting second base job to Robinson Cano and now he’s headed back to Seattle again.
Greg Johns of MLB.com reports that the Mariners are expected to recall Franklin from Tacoma on Tuesday, promoting him in the wake of Corey Hart’s hamstring injury Sunday.
Franklin leads the Pacific Coast League with a .376 batting average and also has seven homers plus as many walks (23) as strikeouts (23) in 30 games for a nifty 1.114 OPS. He hit .225 with 12 homers and a .686 OPS in 102 games for the Mariners last season as a 22-year-old rookie and would have been an everyday player again this season if not for Cano’s arrival on a $240 million contract.
He’ll play mostly outfield for the Mariners now, although it’s possible he could see some action at shortstop with Brad Miller slumping horribly. Miller and Franklin competed for the shortstop gig during spring training and Miller won the battle with his hot hitting and superior defense, only to hit .154 when the games mattered.
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.