Allen Craig is hitting .111 for the Red Sox and “couldn’t have looked more overmatched”

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When the Red Sox acquired Allen Craig from the Cardinals in the John Lackey trade they were hoping a change of scenery would help him rediscover his pre-2014 form, but instead his season-long struggles have become even more extreme.

Craig struck out in all four his plate appearances yesterday and is now hitting .111 with 15 strikeouts in 10 games for the Red Sox.

Before this season–or, perhaps more accurately, before injuring his foot late last season–Craig hit .306 with an .850 OPS through 372 career games, but now Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com writes that Craig “couldn’t have looked more overmatched” and was “flailing at breaking balls way out of the strike zone.”

He’s under contract for $5.5 million in 2015, $9 million in 2016, $11 million in 2017, and $13 million or a $1 million buyout in 2018.

Clayton Kershaw could return on September 1

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Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been out since July 24 with a lower back strain. He’s slated to throw a three-inning simulated game in Pittsburgh on Monday, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Plunkett adds that if all goes well, the earliest Kershaw could return is August 31 against the Diamondbacks, but September 1 is more likely against the Padres.

Kershaw, 29, hit the disabled list on a pace to win his fourth Cy Young Award. He’s 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.

The Dodgers have managed just fine without Kershaw. The club is 19-4 since July 24. At 87-35, the Dodgers own baseball’s best record, well ahead of the second-best Astros at 76-48.

Ian Kinsler was fined for ripping umpires publicly. Brad Ausmus says it’s the largest fine he’s seen in 25 years.

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Last week, Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was ejected from a game against the Rangers after giving home plate umpire Angel Hernandez a look after a pitch was thrown outside for a ball. Kinsler was apparently unhappy with calls Hernandez had made earlier. Manager Brad Ausmus, too, was ejected.

After the game, Kinsler said that Hernandez “needs to find another job.” He added, “…he needs to stop ruining baseball games.”

Kinsler was fined by Major League Baseball for his remarks, Mlive’s Evan Woodbery reports. According to Ausmus, the fine levied on Kinsler was the largest one he’s seen in nearly 25 years in baseball. Kinsler said, “I said what I felt and what I thought. If they take offense to that, then that’s their problem.” Ausmus said, “To single out one player as a union is completely uncalled for.”

As Ashley noted on Saturday, the umpires wore white wristbands to protest “escalating attacks on umpires.” The umpires agreed to drop their protest on Sunday after commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with the umpire union’s governing board, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reports.