D-Backs starter Brandon McCarthy is no fan of lengthy extra-inning games

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Diamondbacks right-hander Brandon McCarthy is, in this writer’s humble opinion, the best baseball-related follow on Twitter. Most athletes post religious and/or motivational quotes and typical post-game cliches with a minimum of real interaction with fans, but McCarthy makes it a point to acknowledge at least a good portion of those sending him tweets. He mixes in original and thoughtful tweets about the game he plays along with a nice serving of humor.

Yesterday, McCarthy shared his opinion on extra-inning games in baseball. He doesn’t like them, and thinks games should go no more than 11 innings.

It’s certainly interesting food for thought, even if there’s very little chance anything gets changed. And he’s right about the quality of the game being worse in extra innings: pitchers this year have allowed a .735 OPS in extras, higher than any single regulation inning. The aggregate strikeout-to-walk ratio is a meager 1.8, lower by far than the lowest regulation inning (1st inning, 2.3) and pitchers allow hits on balls in play at a .315 clip compared to the overall .295 league average. That is because, the longer the game goes, the worse the pitching gets as managers reach deeper and deeper into the bullpen, sometimes having to rely on position players pitching. Similarly, the quality of defense falls as managers use one-dimensional pinch-hitters who must then play the field.

Clayton Kershaw might return to the Dodgers’ rotation next week

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Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.

Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.

Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.