Look, I know everyone who isn’t me has their juices flowing this week because football — the handsome yet drunken and occasionally abusive boyfriend of professional sports — is back and that you’re all gonna try hard to make it work this time. And I’m happy for all of you, I really am. But could you do me one small favor and not import football terms into baseball in honor of its return? This is what got me, from the Twitter feed of Jon Heyman:
hearing [the Giants] are showing strong interest in bj upton. hes “shutdown cf” who fits their big park.
I totally understand what he’s getting at here. And I suppose that clarity of intent the only real rule when it comes to coining new terms. But please, let me have this Jon. Let me have a space in baseball where football does not intrude. More broadly, let us remember that, when it comes to the eight position players on the field, describing a guy in a single-dimension does not work as well as doing so for a football player, where specialization is the order of the day rather than the exception.
Anyway, my sanity needs this very badly. Thank you for your consideration in this regard.
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.