Dodgers starter Scott Kazmir, battling hip stiffness, has been held out of Cactus League action for the past 10 days. He threw five simulated innings on Thursday, racking up 71 pitches and his fastball velocity sat at 82-83 MPH, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. The low velocity has manager Dave Roberts concerned, Plunkett adds.
Kazmir, 33, made 26 starts last year, finishing with a 4.56 ERA and a 134/52 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings. He averaged 91.4 MPH on his fastball, which was actually his highest figure since 2013 when he returned to the majors with the Indians. That he’s only at 82-83 MPH more than halfway through spring training is rightly sounding alarm bells for Roberts.
The Dodgers’ starting rotation is not the most dependable when it comes to health. Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Alex Wood were all injured last season and are now vying for rotation consideration. Ace Clayton Kershaw made only 21 starts last season due to a back injury. No. 2 starter Rich Hill battled blister issues in the second half last year as well.
The postseason has a knack for finding unlikely heroes. Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki was 1-for-23 in the postseason entering Wednesday’s Game 2 of the World Series. The Nats and Astros each plated two runs in the first inning, then went otherwise scoreless through the sixth inning. In the top of the seventh, with Justin Verlander returning to the mound, Suzuki demolished a high, 1-0 fastball just below the train tracks in left field at Minute Maid Park, breaking the 2-2 tie.
Verlander proceeded to walk Victor Robles, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to take his veteran starter out of the game. Ryan Pressly came in to attempt to keep it a one-run game.
The underdog Nationals held on to defeat the Astros 5-4 in Game 1. Another victory by the Nats in Game 2 would put the Astros — heavy favorites according to oddsmakers — in a big hole.
Update: Pressly walked the first batter he faced, Trea Turner. Adam Eaton successfully sacrifice bunted both runners over. After Anthony Rendon flied out to shallow center field, Hinch decided to issue his team’s first intentional walk of the entire year to Juan Soto, loading the bases. Howie Kendrick then hit what appeared to be an inning-ending ground out, but Alex Bregman booted the ball as he moved to his left. Turner scored to make it 4-2. The floodgates opened when Asdrúbal Cabrera lined a single to center field, bringing home two more runs to pad the lead to 6-2. While pitching to Ryan Zimmerman, Pressly uncorked a wild pitch to allow the two base runners to advance. Zimmerman followed up with a slow roller down the third base line which Bregman barehanded and proceeded to throw away. Two more runs scored. 8-2. Yiiiikes, Astros.