Rays @ Dodgers August 11, 2013: Kershaw Is the Danger

August 11, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Posted in Game Threads | Leave a comment

dodger_stadium_2013_150x150When we heard a few weeks ago that ESPN was going to pick up the finale of this Dodgers / Rays series for Sunday Night Baseball, I think most of us were excited. After all, ESPN takes an endless amount of heat — much of it deserved, no doubt — for constantly showing the same teams on their national broadcasts, and while the loss of a Vin Scully broadcast obviously hurts, I appreciate that this was a game chosen on merit. The Rays don’t bring in any viewers at all, of course, and these two clubs have zero history. Not that Los Angeles isn’t a giant media market, but what you’ve got are two of the best and hottest teams in baseball getting some national attention, and that was even before we realized that Clayton Kershaw would be pitching tonight.

Then I realized that tonight is the long-awaited premiere of Breaking Bad, and suddenly I’m a bit more conflicted. Couldn’t this game have been played hours ago? And can this team finally get Kershaw the run support he deserves?

In the meantime, there’s all sorts of news to discuss:

Rays
Dodgers
1B
Rodriguez
LF
Crawford
RF
Myers
2B
M.Ellis
3B
Longoria
1B
Gonzalez
RF
Zobrist
RF
Puig
SS
Escobar
CF
Ethier
2B
Roberts
C
A.Ellis
C
Lobaton
3B
Uribe
P
Hellickson
SS
Gordon
LF
Bourgeois
P
Kershaw

** Hanley Ramirez still doesn’t have a set date to return to the lineup. J.P. Hoornstra has video Ramirez hitting and throwing during pre-game warmups, which Ken Gurnick described as “effortless,” but Eric Stephen passes along Don Mattingly saying that Ramirez “felt something” playing catch on Friday. This is now the seventh day since Ramirez injured himself in Chicago, and Bill Shaikin has Mattingly saying it will be “at least a couple more days”. If he doesn’t play in the upcoming three-game set against the Mets, and returns on Friday in Philadelphia after a day off, that will have been 11 days.

** Matt Kemp took early batting practice, but Mattingly thinks he may still be “8-12 days away”. Hoornstra, however, got the line of the day from the manager, referring to his own lack of success at guessing how long the injured would be out: “I can’t believe you guys write it down still.”

** Down in the minors, Chris Jackson brings us a pretty interesting move: lefty Rob Rasmussen has been sent back to Double-A Chattanooga, while fellow lefty Onelki Garcia is promoted to take his place. Rasmussen, acquired last winter for John Ely, had struggled badly for the Isotopes, while Garcia has shown a good ability to miss bats while walking nearly everyone else he hasn’t whiffed. Garcia is expected to work out of the bullpen for now, though I hope they try again to make him a starter next year. Speaking of which, Stephen Fife appeared out of the bullpen last night and may continue to do so unless the Dodgers need another starter.

** Also in Albuquerque, Brian Wilson had a 1-2-3 inning on just 11 pitches today against Tacoma. That’s three scoreless innings in three tries for the bearded wonder; he’s expected to pitch again on Tuesday and reportedly could be recalled as soon as he successfully shows he can pitch on consecutive days. That time could be soon.

Finally, no, that’s no typo: Jeremy Hellickson is hitting eighth for the Rays, the first time in team history they’ve had a pitcher hitting there.

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