Clayton Kershaw is healthy, but with the division title all but clinched for the Dodgers and his workload already at an MLB-high 223 innings they’ve decided to give him some extra time between starts.
Kershaw had been scheduled to pitch Wednesday against the Diamondbacks, but instead he’ll be pushed back until Saturday against the Padres.
Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that Stephen Fife will fill in for Kershaw, who’s been merely really good rather than incredible this month. He logged seven innings of three-run ball last time out against the Giants on Friday, throwing 106 pitches, and leads baseball with a 1.94 ERA overall.
Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.
Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.
Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.