Bases Covered is a daily roundup of the most interesting stories in baseball.
Kershaw almost boring in his brilliance
Of course Clayton Kershaw is anything but boring, but his remarkably consistent string of dominant starts means there’s nothing much more to say about the Dodgers ace.
The Dodgers defeated the Nationals on Monday, 4–1, with Kershaw allowing one run on six hits over seven innings, striking out eight. It was a special night for another Dodger: closer Kenley Jansen picked up his 162nd save as a Dodger, a franchise record.
It was supposed to be a marquee matchup pitting Kershaw versus Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg, but Strasburg was scratched on the day of the game; the 27-year-old is suffering from an upper back strain.
“Sucks for ESPN,” Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper remarked when asked about Strasburg missing his start.
Farrell defends decisions
With the White Sox–Red Sox game tied 1–1 in the bottom of the ninth on Monday, Chicago lefty Zach Duke was tasked with entering the game with the bases loaded and none out at Fenway Park. Chicago took a nail-biting approach, going with a five-man infield. Boston’s win probability was extremely high, but Duke did the job, and the game went to extras.
In the 10th, Jose Abreu hit a crucial double to lift his team to a 3–1 victory.
Red Sox manager John Farrell was left to defend the decisions he’d made during the game: He’d used Dustin Pedroia, who’d been given the day off, as a pinch hitter for Travis Shaw; Pedroia struck out. Ryan LaMarre also entered the game as a pinch hitter, replacing Marco Hernandez. He, too, struck out. And in the 10th, Farrell handed things over to Craig Kimbrel, even though the reliever hasn’t fared well in non-save situations.
“He wouldn’t be on the mound if he wasn’t able,” Farrell said after the loss. “He threw 24 pitches the last two days. Was in good shape as far as from a physical standpoint.”
Out of the park
Miguel Cabrera launched a 454-foot home run during the Tigers’ 8–7 win over the Mariners on Monday. The home run made it all the way outside of Comerica Park,
“That was probably the farthest I’ve seen here,” said Detroit manager Brad Ausmus of Cabrera’s long ball.
Stopping the bleeding
The Cardinals’ five-game losing streak came to an end on Monday as the team got a much-needed win versus their archrivals the Chicago Cubs. St. Louis backstop Yadier Molina was instrumental in his team’s 3–2 victory, throwing out Chicago’s Albert Almora Jr., who represented the tying run, as he attempted to get to third on a wild pitch.
Despite the win, the Cubs–Cardinals rivalry has tilted strongly this season, with Chicago emerging as the dominant force. Here’s why.
They just keep winning
The Texas Rangers won their 10th straight series on Monday with a 4–3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles—assuming you count Monday’s one-game makeup with the Orioles as a series (MLB’s official statistician does). That’s a franchise record.
Baltimore DH Mark Trumbo noted that his team “had some opportunities that we didn’t cash in.”
The Rangers, meanwhile, have their bullpen to thank for the win.
“We know the struggles that we had earlier in the year, but these guys have shored themselves up,” said Texas manager Jeff Banister.