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And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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With six games washed out yesterday, that brings us to 21 weather-related postponements so far this season. Actually, make it 22, because todays’s early Orioles-Red Sox Patriot’s Day game was called last night too. That’s the most in a month since 2006, when we had 26 postponements in April. Of course, the month is just halfway over.

That stinks, but we’re way past the point where we can blame the schedule for this stuff. We’ve always played games in mid-April, so yesterday could’ve happened in 2008, 1978 or 1948. It happened yesterday because, welp, it happens. Someone ought to name a daily feature out of stuff just happening. I’ll put some thought to it.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Dodgers 7, Diamondbacks 2: After the Dodgers had scored just three runs in three previous starts, Clayton Kershaw finally got a little dang run support. In so doing, the Dodgers finally won a dang regular season game against the dang Diamondbacks, snapping an 11-game skid against Arizona. Not that Kershaw needed a lot of dang run support, given that he struck out 12 and pitched two-hit ball over seven innings. Chris Taylor homered, doubled and drove in three dang runs. Dang.

Red Sox 3, Orioles 1: The game-time temperature was 34 degrees and the wind chill put it down in the mid-20s, but since today’s forecast was so crappy they pushed hard to get this one in and they did. Dylan Bundy pitched OK for Baltimore, but Chris Sale pitched better for Boston, allowing one run over five. Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland each had three hits as the Bosox go to 13-2, which is their best start in their 118-year history.

Padres 10, Giants 1: Joey Lucchesi was great, even on a day he didn’t have to be given how many runs the Padres scored. Their stater held the Giants to one run over six while striking out nine as the San Diego bats took young Tyler Beede to the woodshed. Christian Villanueva homered, doubled and drove in three and Jose Pirela tripled, doubled, singled and drove in three himself.

Cardinals 3, Reds 2: Carlos Martinez put up seven shutout innings, striking out 11 and Harrison Bader hit a two-run home run as the Cardinals sweep the four-game series. It was their first four-game series sweep in Cincinnati since 1949. The Reds have lost eight in a row. Bryan Price is probably buying groceries on a daily basis at this point.

Mets 3, Brewers 2: Brandon Nimmo‘s homer in the sixth tied the game up at two and Wilmer Flores‘ walkoff homer gave the Mets their 12th win in the season’s first 14 games. Noah Syndergaard dominated for five and a third innings, striking out 11 — at one point fanning eight in a row — and allowing only an unearned run. Just filthy.

Pirates 7, Marlins 3: Starlin Marte went 5-for-5, scored four times and hit a homer while Josh Bell drove in three. Bad news, though: Josh Harrison was hit with a pitch on the left forearm while leading off the third inning and left the game for precautionary reasons. He’ll be evaluated further today. After that there was some retaliatory plunking, but everyone kept their cool for the most part.

Phillies 10, Rays 4: Aaron Altherr hit a three-run homer in the Phillies five-run eighth inning and Scott Kingery had a three-run double. Remember when Gabe Kapler was catching hell? Me neither. I guess winning six in a row and eight of nine will change the narrative a bit.

Rockies 6, Nationals 5: Ian Desmond hit a tiebreaking, two-out homer in the ninth against his former team, Charlie Blackmon homered and drove in three and the Rockies took three of four from the Nats in Washington. The Nats just finished a ten-game home stand in which they dropped seven. Woof.

Athletics 2, Mariners 1: Oakland scored two in the first on a Jed Lowrie two-run homer and it held up thanks to Sean Manaea‘s seven innings of one run ball. Blake Treinen got a four-out save.

Rangers 3, Astros 1: Bartolo Colon was perfect through seven innings and, even though he lost both the perfecto and the no-hitter in the eighth via a walk to Carlos Correa and then a double to Josh Reddick, the old dude was pretty amazing last night (7.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 7K, 1BB). He didn’t even get the win, though, because Justin Verlander was amazing himself, allowing only one run on one hit over eight innings while striking out 11. This one was decided in the tenth when, tied at 1, Joey Gallo singled, Ronald Guzman hit a ground rule double and then Robinson Chirinos doubled, scoring then both. all off of Hector Rondon.

Blue Jays vs. Indians, Yankees vs. Tigers, Yankees vs. Tigers (Game 2), White Sox vs. Twins, Angels vs. Royals, Braves vs. Cubs — POSTPONED:

Talkin’ to myself and feelin’ old
Sometimes I’d like to quit
Nothin’ ever seems to fit
Hangin’ around
Nothin’ to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down
What I’ve got they used to call the blues
Nothin’ is really wrong
Feelin’ like I don’t belong
Walkin’ around
Some kind of lonely clown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

The “Clayton Kershaw can’t pitch in the postseason” narrative should be dead

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For years, a bulk of the postseason coverage surrounding Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw focused on his poor results once the regular season ended. The three-time Cy Young Award winner carried a career 5.68 postseason ERA following his NLDS Game 1 start against the Diamondbacks last year, a sample size spanning 15 starts and four relief appearances totaling 95 1/3 innings.

Kershaw had a subpar start against the Astros in Game 5 of the World Series last year and the narrative hit a fever pitch. I dug into the numbers at that point and found that a not-insignificant portion of Kershaw’s playoff ERA could be attributed to relievers coming in after him and failing to strand their inherited runners. At the time of that writing (October 30, 2017), Dodger relievers allowed 10 of 16 runners inherited from Kershaw in the playoffs to score, a strand rate of 37.5 percent. That’s roughly half of the league average (around 75 percent).

Kershaw finished out the World Series last year by pitching four scoreless innings of relief in Game 7. He returned to the postseason, starting Game 2 of the NLDS against the Braves this year and tossed eight shutout frames on just two hits with no walks. The narrative should have died there, too. It, of course did not. As the Dodgers advanced to the NLCS, Kershaw got the Game 1 nod against the Brewers and struggled. The Brewers got him for five runs (four earned) across three-plus innings. One of those runs included a home run hit by the opposing pitcher (Brandon Woodruff). Kershaw was also hurt by a passed ball and catcher’s interference on the part of Yasmani Grandal in the third inning. Not a great outing, but not as bad as the line score read, either.

In Game 5 of the NLCS on Wednesday evening, Kershaw once again redeemed himself. He limited the Brewers this time around to a lone run on three hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over seven innings of work. The only run came around in the third inning when Lorenzo Cain hit an RBI double to center field. Kershaw’s career postseason ERA is now 4.11 and it would be much lower if his bullpen had, in the past, done its job more effectively.

According to Katie Sharp of The Athletic, tonight’s postseason start was Kershaw’s eighth in which he allowed one run or fewer and three hits or fewer. No other pitcher in baseball history has made more than five such starts. That’s partially a function of opportunity, as the Dodgers have been in the postseason every year dating back to 2013 as well as in 2008 and ’09. But Kershaw still has to go out there and make the pitches, and he largely has. The “Kershaw can’t pitch in the postseason” narrative is dead. It never should have lived.