Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Monday, July 24.
No matter how good a team is or how big a lead it has, it fears one thing particularly if it has a single outstanding player. Every team fears a serious or catastrophic injury to that player. The Dodgers are the latest team living that nightmare following Clayton Kershaw’s back injury yesterday in Los Angeles.
This year we’ve repeatedly seen the demise of teams who thought they were playoff contenders due to one single catastrophic injury. The Mets’ Noah Syndergaard was the first, and he’s still out with no time table for his return and no real point in him returning until 2018. Madison Bumgarner has returned but in his absence the Giants dug themselves a hole deeper than the one Baby Jessica fell into 30 years ago. Now it’s the Dodgers’ turn. Following an injury last season, Clayton Kershaw left yesterday’s game with a back injury that will cost him significant time and may keep him on the shelf for the season. He left after 2 innings with pain in the right side of his back. The Dodgers won 5-4 in 10 innings but nobody cared. A cloud of fear overpowered even the Los Angeles smog. Last year it was a herniated disk that cost Kershaw 10 weeks on the shelf.
I wish I were innocent about what harm a back injury can cause. I was an innocent until August 2014, when on a Sunday morning in church I began to feel pain in the right side of my back. X-rays proved nothing, and the pain did not go away. I made my living in an office then, and I moved painfully to get to and from the office and dealt with the pain as I did my job. 8 hours of torment at the desk led me straight to bed most nights regardless how early the hour might be. Finally I turned to a chiropractor which was a major mistake. The exercises he gave me led to a much more serious injury.
Realize of course that Kershaw will get far better medical care than an office drone. Though last night was a Sunday night he was granted an audience with a back specialist-an appointment that can take weeks or months to get in the civilian world. He and Brandon McCarthy (blisters) are headed to the DL. But Mccarthy is just a name. Kershaw is the modern Koufax and he’s watching his body fail him as Koufax did. With the Brooklyn-born Koufax it was his pitching arm and his reluctance to use tne new wonder drug of his day, cortisone. Kershaw’s back will be a lot more difficult if not impossible to put right, as the Mets’ David Wright is finding out.
So, what to do next going forward? The Rangers have Yu Darvish but they’re not ignorant of the Dodgers’ plight. As a result they will make the price tag sky high for their ace and the Angelinos may have no choice but to pay the Rangers’ demand. In the game, the Braves” Matt Adams hit a 3-run 9th-inning home run to tie the game and give the Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen his first blown save of 2017. With the bases loaded in the 10th Logan Forsythe singled home the winning run. The Dodgers’ excellent record and huge lead in the western division mean that doing without Kershaw for a while shouldn’t ruin their playoff chances. But once they get there, without their ace the Dodgers will be in trouble.
For the second time in 4 games the Carolina League’s Winston-Salem Dash (White Sox) and the Salem Red Sox played an 11-inning game in Winston-Salem, NC. Thursday night, the visitors from Salem, Virginia won 7-6 in 11 over the Dash. They also won the next two in the regulation 9 innings. Yesterday the team’s roles were reversed. The Dash took an amazing 11-10 win in 11 innings over their visitors from Virginia. The visiting Red Sox had a 5-3 lead going to the home 8th but the Dash put up 3 making it 6-5 as the 9th began. The visitors, who have a 59-40 record scored the tying run after a lightning delay in the 9th. Then the thunder began to roll in earnest. Each team put up a deuce in the 10th to make it 8-8. Salem put up 2 in the 11th to hopefully salt away a 10-8 win. But the home-standing Dash, who are 38-61 defied their record and the probabilities by scoring 3 in the home 11th for the win. The Dash notched 18 hits while the Red Sox registered 15. On his second hit of the game, Joel Booker who even now hits only .195 drove home the winning run for the Dash in the 11th. Their star hitter was Eloy Jimenez who collected 5 hits in 6 tries including 2 doubles, a home run and 3 RBIs. In the 11th Jimenez doubled and Brandon Dulin, a .205 swinger tied the game with a 2-run home run. He had 2 out of 5 but the home run and the RBIs in the 11th were the only ones he got. An inning earlier, down 8-6 Jameson Fisher leveled the game with a 2-run shot into the crowd beyond the fence in right. It was his only hit during a game in which he struck out 3 times. Meantime, Jose Sermo and Jordan Betts of the visiting Red Sox hit a pair of home runs each. Two of those bombs took place in the 11th before the home team made their mad dash to victory.
Only in Chicago could there be a Monday afternoon baseball game, and it’s at Wrigley as the White Sox come downtown. The visitors start Miguel Gonzalez who has pitched just once since leaving the DL. Meantime the Cubs’ Kyle Hendrix has been on the shelf since June 4 and is finally ready to go. The White Sox have lost 9 in a row and not won since trading Jose Quintana who has twice led the Cubs to victory. Houston, one of baseball’s elite teams faces one of its worst in Philadelphia. While the Phillies won’t challenge the 1962 Mets they are nearly certain to lose 100 games. The Astros’ Brad Peacock faces former Astros’ farm hand Vince Velasquez who went to Philly in the Ken Giles trade. Velasquez is only on his second start since a 6-week stretch on the DL. Oakland, who salvaged the last game of their Mets’ series yesterday heads north of the border to face the Blue Jays. Colorado comes out of the rarified air at Coors Canaveral to face the Cardinals in another park named for a major brewery. The Braves move on from Los Angeles to face the D-Backs in the Valley of the Sun. Boston faces Seattle late tonight. Eduardo Rodriguez of the visitors faces the Mariners’ James Paxton in a duel of two pitchers who both logged time on the DL recently. The Twins face the Dodgers and the Mets battle San Diego in two other late night games. Jacob DeGrom, the DeGrominator faces Clayton Richard who gave up 11 runs in his last start. DeGrom is waiting to see if he’ll be going deep in the heart of Texas where the Astros want him if they can raise the sheckles the Mets always need. The surging Pirates face the sagging Giants in San Francisco. Their 10:15 start is the latest in the bigs.0