15 years ago, during Game 5 of the 2002 World Series, then-Giants manager Dusty Baker’s three-year-old son Darren inadvertently found himself in one of the most memorable playoff moments in the history of the game.
The Giants led the Angels 8-4 and had runners on second and third base with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning. Kenny Lofton laced a 2-1 pitch from Ben Weber off the wall in right-center field at AT&T Park, knocking in two runs with a triple. J.T. Snow had been on second base after singling and advancing after David Bell was hit by a pitch. As he crossed the plate, Darren had made his way onto the field near home plate. Snow alertly picked Darren up in the middle of the action, right before Bell scored. Had Snow not done that, and there been a play at the plate, Darren could’ve been hurt.
Dusty is now the Nationals’ manager, and Darren (now 18 years old) is entering pro baseball. The Nationals selected Darren with their 27th pick — 823rd overall — in the draft out of Jesuit High School in California.
Time flies, doesn’t it?
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.