The Braves got on the board against Dodgers starter Zack Greinke thanks to their handy shortstop. Evan Gattis, the goat of last night’s game, reached on a single to left, then advanced to second on a ground out. With two outs, shortstop Andrelton Simmons laced a double to right field, sailing over Yasiel Puig’s head. Gattis scored easily, moving the Braves into a 1-1 tie with the Dodgers after two innings.
Simmons contributed yet again in the top of the third with a nifty 6-4-3 double play to end an impending Dodger threat. The speedy Carl Crawford had singled to lead off the inning and was attempting to reach second safely when A.J. Ellis hit a ground ball to Simmons. With very little time to spare, Simmons made a quick transfer to second baseman Elliott Johnson, who flipped the ball to first baseman Freddie Freeman to complete the double play. Via Chad Moriyama, you can see a .gif of the play by clicking here.
The game remains tied 1-1 with both starters settling down as we head into the middle innings.
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.