Clayton Kershaw’s scoreless streak, which dated back to a June 13 win over the Diamondbacks, was snapped after 41 2/3 innings when he gave up a homer to San Diego’s Chase Headley in the sixth inning Thursday.
Kershaw shook it off and ended up pitching a three-hitter for the victory in a 2-1 game. It was his eighth straight win.
The homer that snapped Kershaw’s streak came with two outs in the sixth, and Headley had fouled off three two-strike pitches to stay alive before depositing a fastball over the wall in left.
Kershaw’s scoreless streak, which technically will be recorded as 41 innings by MLB and Elias, was the longest since the Mets’ R.A. Dickey went 44 2/3 innings in a row in 2012 and the third longest since 1990 (Arizona’s Brandon Webb went 42 innings in a row in 2007). Of course, the Dodgers have the two longest streaks of all-time: Orel Hershiser’s 59-inning streak in 1988 and Don Drysdale’s 58-inning streak in 1968.
The homer was just the fifth allowed by Kershaw in 93 1/3 innings this season. His previous came June 8 against the Rockies at Coors Field.
Kershaw finished the game with 11 strikeouts and earned his 11th victory against two losses. He would lead the majors with a 1.78 ERA, but he’s still short of qualifying after missing all of April with back inflammation.
Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.
I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.
I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.
As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.
There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.
Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.
With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.