On Sunday, the Marlins promoted shortstop prospect J.T. Riddle to replace the injured Adeiny Hechavarria. MLB Pipeline ranked Riddle as the club’s 12th-best prospect. He appeared in his first game on Tuesday, but went 0-for-4 against the Braves.
Riddle was looking for his first hit on Wednesday and found it in the top of the second inning against Jaime Garcia. With an 0-2 count, Garcia threw a curve that bounced in the dirt in front of the plate. Riddle checked his swing, but still made contact with the ball, which weakly rolled down the third base line in fair territory. Adonis Garcia made a valiant effort to barehand the ball and throw across the diamond, but Riddle beat the throw and was ruled safe for his first major league hit.
Riddle’s family, in attendance at Marlins Park, was bewildered by what went on. His stepfather (and coach) was asked if that was how he envisioned J.T.’s first major league hit and he said, “No, but we will take it.” His mother said, “I just wanted him to hit the ball. I was kind of worried, but we’ll call it a hit, I guess.” His sister said, “I thought it was a crazy hit.”
The Marlins lost Wednesday’s game 5-4 to the Braves.
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.