Pitchers are players too, but nor for monthly awards. They get their own jam, and Sonny Gray of the Athletics and Jose Fernandez of the Marlins won this jam, being named Pitchers of the Month for April.
Fernandez led baseball with 55 strikeouts while posting a 4-1 record in six starts. Fernandez was tied for third among N.L. pitchers in wins while and was fourth in ERA with a 1.59 mark. He was also fourth among qualifying pitchers in opponents’ average, allowing 25 hits over his 39 and two-thirds innings of work. Yesterday’s start against the Dodgers doesn’t count for this, obviously, but he had ten strikeouts on a day he was described by many as having poor command. Which is quite a testament to how great his stuff is.
Gray went 4-1 record with a 1.76 ERA, one shutout and 37 strikeouts in 41.0 innings pitched over six appearances. Gray was tied for first in wins, was second in ERA, fifth in innings pitched and 12th in strikeouts. Opponents batted .220 off of him.
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.