Mike Trout won Rookie of the Year and will finish runner-up for MVP, but surely this will be his proudest accomplishment for 2012: Trout has been named the “Heart and Hustle” award winner.
Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association gives the annual award to the “player who demonstrates a passion for the game and best embodies the values, spirit and traditions of baseball.”
Each of the 30 teams had a finalist and that list amusingly included Melky Cabrera representing the Giants despite his 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.
And in accepting the award Trout put himself in position to win cliche-giver of the year as well: “I take pride in these awards. I go out there and give 110 percent every time and leave it all on the field. There’s only one thing in baseball, and I think it’s to win and just have fun.”
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.