Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez was placed on the disabled list at the end of July due to shoulder inflammation, but he ended up missing just two starts and will make his return tonight against the Diamondbacks.
Alvarez ranks fifth in the National League with a 2.48 ERA across 22 starts and leads the majors with three shutouts. While he has only struck out 83 batters in 137 2/3 innings this season, his walk rate (1.77 BB/9) is the best of his career and he owns a ground ball rate of 54.5 percent. The 24-year-old earned his first All-Star nod earlier this summer.
Despite being two games under .500 at 60-62, the Marlins enter play today just four games back in the National League Wild Card race. Having Alvarez back should help keep them in the mix.
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.