Los Angeles Dodgers left-handed ace Clayton Kershaw will not be suspended for hitting Arizona’s Gerardo Parra with a pitch on Wednesday night, according to Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times.
Umpire Bill Welke ejected Kershaw quickly in the sixth inning after an inside fastball bounced off Parra’s elbow. Welke was clearly reacting to the previous night’s festivities, when Kershaw screamed at Diamondbacks players after Parra stood and watched a home run.
Welke’s reaction is not surprising. In a way, it would have been more surprising if Kershaw had not plunked Parra at some point. Even D-backs broadcaster Mark Grace expected some fireworks, saying excitedly on Tuesday night’s game broadcast that “Kershaw’s gonna drill somebody. Alright!”
The problem is, if Kershaw did in fact drill Parra on purpose, he did about as good a job as possible in making it subtle. Parra was hugging the plate, and Kershaw’s pitch was not that far off the plate. A fastball to the middle of the back or the ribs would be one thing, but the pitch in question simply wasn’t that obvious.
The lack of a suspension proves that. And that’s a good thing. Kershaw is a strong contender for the NL Cy Young award, and it would be a shame to see him miss any starts the rest of the way over a minor incident.
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The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.
Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:
I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.
In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.
“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”
Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.
For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.