Kerry Wood was scratched from his scheduled appearance Saturday with a sore right lat muscle, but the Indians quickly announced Sunday that he was already back on track and would be able to throw a bullpen session today followed by game action Wednesday.
Unfortunately, those plans have changed. Wood did not throw a bullpen session today and manager Manny Acta seemed unsure about when the Indians’ closer would be ready to pitch again:
We’re going to take it easy with Kerry. The medical staff will put together a plan for him. We want to be careful. He’s our closer. He has plenty of time to get ready, and there’s no reason to rush him back out there.
Wood’s injury was initially dismissed as merely “spring training soreness” by the Indians, but obviously there’s something else going on at this point. As beat reporter Anthony Castrovince wrote as the lead to his MLB.com story: “It could be something, it could be nothing.”
All of which is why 24-year-old setup man and potential closer-in-waiting Chris Perez is one of my fantasy “sleeper” picks for AL-only leagues.
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.