Rockies right-hander Jair Jurrjens struggled Friday in his first start in 13 months, allowing eight runs while failing to make it out of the fifth inning, and he had even more problems dealing with the altitude in Colorado.
Jurrjens was taken to the hospital during the game for what the Rockies called “breathing problems.” He’s since been released from the hospital and manager Walt Weiss told Nick Groke of the Denver Post that doctors think it had more to do with conditioning and reacting to the altitude than anything serious:
Everything is fine. He checked out all right. People react differently when they get here, with the altitude and everything. That was part of it. But everything was moving pretty fast for him. All of a sudden he was here and he was starting in a big-league game again. I’m sure things were spinning.
His next scheduled turn in the rotation would be Wednesday afternoon versus the Padres, at Coors Field, although it’s not clear if the Rockies will give Jurrjens another start considering how bad he looked in his first outing.
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.