Again? Nelson Cruz pulled with hamstring tightness

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According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz was lifted from Saturday’s game against the Red Sox with tightness in his left hamstring.

Hamstring injuries are never good — minor or not — but it’s even worse when Cruz is the man ailing.  He’s already spent two extended stints on the disabled list this season with hamstring troubles and could need another trip if a strain is revealed when he is reexamined on Sunday morning.

Cruz has been a monster at the plate this season when healthy and currently boasts a .320/.381/.587 batting line, 16 homers and 64 RBI.  But he’s tallied just 287 at-bats while most other regulars are nearing 450.  With Vladimir Guerrero also struggling at the dish, the Rangers may have to whether a serious storm in the remaining weeks of August.

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.