Clayton Kershaw and the “New Girl” curse

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What else could it be?

Clayton Kershaw walked three batters in the third and gave up five runs Monday against the A’s. Sam Fuld and Nick Punto, of all people, did the damage against him. Last week, he allowed three runs and five hits in two innings against the Diamondbacks, so after two spring outings, he’s currently sporting an 18.00 ERA.

All of this comes after Kershaw struck out on the FOX sitcom “New Girl” last month, getting quickly rebuffed after identifying himself and hitting on Zooey Deschanel’s character in the show. Nothing since has worked out right for him.

Kershaw admitted after Monday’s game that he had no explanation for his struggles: “The first two innings it felt like most things were working. In the third inning obviously nothing was working. I don’t know. If I knew, I would have fixed it.”

But we know what’s wrong. It’s obvious. And the curse won’t be lifted until after Kershaw guest stars on an NBC offering, perhaps About A Boy (Tuesday’s 9 pm ET, 8 pm CT).

Report: Padres interested in Maikel Franco

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals
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The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.

Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.

Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.