Nationals manager Davey Johnson isn’t happy with his team’s offense, which enters tonight’s series opener against the Phillies having averaged 3.38 runs per game, the second-worst rate in the league. Looking for a quirky way to motivate his team, Johnson says he will not shave until the offense makes an appearance:
The Nationals manager apologized for his scraggly appearance before Friday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies, but he added: “I figured I couldn’t get any uglier, so what the heck.”
The 70-year-old Johnson says it’ll be hard to notice his facial growth because it’s gray and doesn’t grow fast.
Said Johnson: “Maybe I can change the luck.”
With the news of Danny Espinosa’s broken wrist, Bryce Harper getting banged up, and Jayson Werth on the DL until June, the Nationals are going to leaning even harder on Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond, two of their only sources of offense this year.
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.