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Clayton Kershaw sets playoff record with eighth home run allowed

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has pitched well this postseason, which seemed to put the nail in the coffin of his perceived playoff struggles. From 2008-16, Kershaw had a 4.55 postseason ERA. This postseason, entering Sunday’s action, he had a 2.96 ERA across four starts.

That narrative is about to reanimate. With a fourth-inning, game-tying three-run home run allowed to disgraced Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel, Kershaw set a new postseason record for home runs allowed, according to Katie Sharp of River Ave Blues. Gurriel’s blast was number eight for Kershaw in the playoffs this year.

Half of those  homers came in Kershaw’s Game 1 start against the Diamondbacks in the NLDS. A.J. Pollock, J.D. Martinez, Ketel Marte, and Jeff Mathis all hit solo homers against him. Albert Almora, Jr. hit a two-run shot off Kershaw in Game 1 of the NLCS. Kris Bryant got him with the bags empty in Game 5. And, in Game 1 of the World Series, Alex Bregman took Kershaw yard for a solo shot.

Kershaw set a career-high during the regular season, yielding 23 round-trippers. Considering that the 2017 season set an all-time record for home runs, that’s not so bad. Perhaps Kershaw’s record also has something to do with the allegedly slicker baseballs used in the World Series.

No, the Astros aren’t being targeted for HBPs in spring training

Alex Bregman
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On Wednesday, Astros third baseman Alex Bregman was hit by Cardinals pitcher Ramon Santos. It marked the seventh time an Astros batter had been hit in spring training exhibition games thus far, the highest total among all teams. As expected, teams are exacting revenge for the Astros’ cheating ways!

Well, not quite. The pitch Santos hit Bregman with was a 3-2 breaking ball that got away. Usually, if a pitcher is going to hit a batter as an act of revenge, he’ll attempt to do it with a first-pitch fastball.

José Altuve was also hit by a pitch against the Tigers on Sunday. The pitch, which looks to be the off-speed variety, appeared to graze his uniform as opposed to hitting him flush, so it was likely unintentional on the part of pitcher Nick Ramirez.

Other Astros to have been hit in spring training thus far: Alex De Goti, Aledmys Díaz, Osvaldo Duarte, Dustin Garneau, and Jake Meyers. Not exactly a who’s-who list of Code Breaker operatives.

Will some pitchers intentionally throw at the Astros this year? Almost certainly, despite commissioner Rob Manfred’s warning. Have they been doing it from the moment exhibition games began earlier this month? Certainly not.