Clayton Kershaw won’t start the series finale against the Giants on Sunday night. He’s been scratched because of hip discomfort, and Joe Blanton will pitch in his place tonight.
It’s certainly good news for the Giants as they throw Barry Zito to go for the series win after splitting the first two games in San Francisco. Kershaw had a 1.73 ERA in four starts against the Giants this season, though that had only gotten him a 1-3 record. As you might have guessed, he wasn’t matched up against Zito in any of those starts.
Blanton last pitched Monday, so tonight’s start will be on five days’ rest for him. He’s 0-2 with a 5.30 ERA in three starts against the Giants this season.
Kershaw is expected to come back and pitch Tuesday. He got a cortisone shot for the hip on Saturday and he wanted to pitch tonight, but the Dodgers declined to give him the go-ahead.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.
Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.
The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.