Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw usually helps his own cause in the way of striking out lots of hitters and rarely putting them on base with walks. It’s why he’s a two-time Cy Young award winner and has led the league in ERA in each of the last three seasons. But he helped his own cause in a spectacular way in Sunday’s game against the Brewers.
The Dodgers were up 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth, but the Brewers were threatening with Rickie Weeks on third base and one out. After Jean Segura worked a 1-1 count, the Brewers decided to try the squeeze play. Segura jabbed his bat at the ball, but sent it up in the air a few feet in front of the plate. Kershaw dashed off of the mound and dove face-first towards the plate, catching the ball just before it could hit the ground. Kershaw then got to his feet and lobbed the ball to Juan Uribe at third base to complete the inning-ending double play.
Quite the play. Kershaw finished the afternoon with his 14th win, limiting the Brewers to one run on six hits and a pair of walks while striking out six over eight innings. He now has a 1.78 ERA, a 0.86 WHIP, and a 163/19 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings.
The Giants are finalizing a minor league deal for free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin, according to Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The team has not confirmed the signing, but it’s in keeping with their stated goal of adding more veteran presence and outfield options to their roster in advance of the 2019 season.
Maybin, 31, appeared in back-to-back gigs with the Marlins and Mariners in 2018. He slashed an underwhelming .249/.326/.336 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 15 chances), a .662 OPS, and 0.5 fWAR through 384 plate appearances for the two clubs, a clear improvement over his totals in 2017 but still shy of the career numbers he posted with the Padres all the way back in 2011. It’s not only his offense that has tanked, but his speed and defense in center field, all of which he’ll try to improve as he jockeys for a roster spot in camp this month.
The Giants’ outfield has been largely depleted of any kind of consistent talent lately, especially taking into account the recent departures of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, and Gorkys Hernández. Even with the acquisition of, say, All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper, there’s nothing standing in the way of Maybin and fellow veteran signee Gerardo Parra grabbing hold of full- or part-time roles this year, though they’ll need to outperform candidates like Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Drew Ferguson, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, Craig Gentry, Mike Gerber, and others first.
In a previous report on Friday, Baggarly revealed that a “handshake understanding” had been established with several veteran players already this offseason, all but guaranteeing them regular starting opportunities over the course of the season. How those agreements will be affected by spring training performances remains to be seen, but at least for now, the Giants appear prepared to give their newest players a long leash as they try to get back on top in the NL West.