Kershaw and Third Base – Tough to Be A Dodger

After starting the season by winning two of three from the NL West’s best team, the San Diego Padres, the Dodgers have now lost two in a row to the league’s worst team, the Diamondbacks of Arizona. What’s worse, after two starts the reigning National League Cy Young winner from 2014, and from 2013 and from 2011, Clayton Kershaw is still winless on the new season, and possesses an ERA of 5.84 and a WHIP of 1.70. He allowed the D’Backs 10 hits tonight, a total he never allowed once throughout all of the 2014 season. Despite not taking the mound in a single game in the month of April last year, his record a

year ago today was still 1-0, with a 1.77 ERA, after his one performance in Australia on March 22, which was followed by six weeks of inactivity due to the rigors of the disastrous trip across the globe to stuff even more the coffers of MLB billionaires.

While his awful start is most likely purely an aberration soon to be followed by a return to form, one does have to wonder about the toll
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on him, first of his pitching on short rest in the 2013 post season, the Australia-trip-induced back injury, and most recently in his first 2015 outing, his having been hit in the mouth by a line drive back to the mound. Maybe tonight’s horrible effort was merely a result of his broken tooth and subsequent root canal? We’ll have to wait until his next scheduled start which would won’t be until next Friday against Colorado.

Speaking of the Dodgers’ pitching schedule, next Tuesday’s game against Seattle is now scheduled to be started by Scott Baker, an unsigned free agent whom the team had signed to a minor league contract last week. Apparently the 33-year-old righty was impressive enough in one minor league start to merit a promotion back to the majors, where he compiled a 66-52 record over nine seasons, primarily with the Twins. He had a couple of decent years not so long ago in Minnesota – 11-4, 15-9 and 12-9 from 2008 through 2010 – but last year he was a disaster in Texas, compiling a 5.47 ERA over 25 appearances.

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But I digress - back to tonight's game, which featured the Dodgers employing four, count them, four, third basemen. In the third inning, starter Justin Turner was spiked on the hand, and had to leave the game. He was replaced by Juan Uribe, who promptly pulled a hamstring. He toughed it out through the half-inning, but was then pinch hit for by, wait for it,…..Alex Guerrero, in the top of the fourth. Not seeing Guerrero attempt to play defense was the single most painful instance of the
SportsNet LA debacle so far this season. After a tough day in the salt mines, if would have been some great comic relief to have seen that. Apparently even the empty uniform non manager don mattingly had had enough by the seventh inning, when he pulled a double switch, putting Darwin Barney in at third to replace good ole Alex. For Barney, who coming into the 2015 season had appeared in 547 major league games, it was his seventh-even stint at third base. But, if neither Turner nor Uribe is able to go tomorrow, and over the following few days, Barney may be there for awhile.

The Dodgers are now 0-2 against Arizona after taking 14 of the 18 between the clubs last season. While the D’Backs look no better in the field or at bat than they did last season, on paper at least their pitching seems to have regressed from last season. But, you don’t play games on paper, and rookie starter Archie Bradley pitched a gem against the Dodgers in his major league debut tonight. Remember, were it not for two big hits from Jimmy Rollins, the 2-3 Dodgers could well be off to a 0-5 start.

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