Ichiro a ratings hit; a fashion liability

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From the Seattle Times comes word that from midnight to 6 a.m. on New Year’s Day, Japanese TV ran an Ichiro marathon.  But it wasn’t a highlights package per se, it was video of each and every one of his 2,030 Major League hits.  And it got pretty darn good ratings too. Not sure how such a thing would do here, but if they ran, say, every one of Wade Boggs’ or Rod Carew’s hits here I’d probably watch the whole damn show.  I’d certainly tune it in before I’d watch Ryan Seacrest and the corpse of Dick Clark rockin’ in the new year.

The Times’ article, however, brings us some less-happy Ichiro news: he and his wife Yumiko Fukushima are on the outs. Well, that’s not actually “news” — indeed such a thing has not been reported anywhere by anyone — but based on what he was photographed wearing while taking BP in Japan last month, I can only conclude that he no longer has a woman around to tell him when he dresses like a fool:

Ichiro Pants.jpg

Dodgers plan to tab Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of World Series

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MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.

Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.

Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.

Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.

The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.