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Ken Giles wins arbitration case against Astros

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Astros right-hander Ken Giles won his arbitration case against the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Saturday. Giles initially filed at $4.6 million, which was countered by a $4.2 million offer from the team.

Giles, 27, dazzled in his second season with the Astros. He racked up 34 saves, good for fifth-most in the league, and sported a 2.30 ERA, 3.0 BB/9 and 11.9 SO/9 through 62 2/3 innings in the regular season. The postseason was a different story altogether. The right-hander imploded in three of seven playoff appearances and lost his status as the team’s closer halfway through the World Series with a brutal Game 4 loss and an unsightly 11.74 ERA. That said, Giles’ postseason snafu isn’t expected to have much bearing on his future with the team in 2018, according to comments made by manager AJ Hinch earlier this winter.

The Astros have two more arbitration hearings to resolve before Opening Day. Outfielder George Springer filed at $10.5 million, countered by $8.5 million from the team, while right-hander Collin McHugh seeks $5 million against the $4.55 million the Astros are willing to pony up. So far this winter, five players have won arbitration cases against their respective teams, including Giles, Rays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria ($5.9 million), Marlins first baseman Justin Bour ($3.4 million), Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts ($10.5 million), and Diamondbacks right-hander Shelby Miller ($4.9 million). Two have lost: Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna ($5.3 million) and Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto ($2.9 million).

Clayton Kershaw struggles with control, walks six Marlins

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.

Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.

The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.