Four months and 18 horrible starts into a four-year, $49 million contract Ricky Nolasco revealed to the Twins that he’s been pitching through elbow pain since spring training.
That apparently came as a complete shock to the Twins, who’ve placed the 31-year-old right-hander on the disabled list with a strained elbow.
Nolasco posted a 5.90 ERA in 104 innings before being shut down, allowing the most runs and the most hits in the American League while seeing his secondary numbers collapse and his velocity slip as well. Minnesota signed Nolasco in large part because of his durability, which included starting at least 30 games and logging at least 185 innings in five of the previous six seasons.
Sam Deduno figures to replace him in the rotation and if Nolasco’s injury proves to be a major one the Twins may turn to prospects Alex Meyer or Trevor May to fill his spot.
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.
Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.
Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.
Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.
The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.