The Cincinnati Reds are out west in Los Angeles for a three-game series against the Dodgers. After Los Angeles, the Reds will head to San Diego for four games against the Padres beginning on Thursday. Tonight marks the return of Yasiel Puig. The ex-Dodger went to Cincinnati for more money, predictably so. Along with Puig, Manny Machado also dipped and went to San Diego. The Dodgers weren’t willing to pay them what they wanted, so they went to smaller markets for bigger paydays.
It’s difficult to say what kind of legacy he left with the Dodgers. He of course had some memorable moments in LA, but boneheaded decisions, especially poor base running also stick out. He will not go down as some kind of fan favorite legend, we can agree on that much. Machado tended to play lazy at times, too.
At the end of the day, though, Puig and Machado helped get the Dodgers to the World Series. At the same time, they were expected to not just go to a World Series, but help their team win it. Anything else was going to be viewed as a bust. Machado was supposed to be the bat to get them over the hump. It didn’t work, so their legacies as Dodgers is sort of muddied. Good players who will be remembered for not being able to bring a World Series to Los Angeles.
Clayton Kershaw’s legacy as a Dodger is set in stone. The future Hall of Famer deserves a World Series more than anyone on this roster. He has all of the individual awards a pitcher could ask for, but as time ticks by, Kershaw may never see a championship ring in the major leagues.
He will make his first start in 2019 after dealing with shoulder inflammation in spring training. Kershaw had shoulder surgery in 2017, so it was best not to rush him back. We’ll see what kind of stuff he brings to the table tonight. Luis Castillo, who is off to a nice start for the Reds, will get the nod against the Dodgers this evening. Head below for our free Reds vs. Dodgers pick.
Cincinnati Reds vs. L.A. Dodgers Pick:
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Some people are doubting whether Kershaw still has it, or at least, still has the ability to perform like we’re used to seeing from him. He struggled late last season and had some rough outings in the postseason, but he’s never been a guy to shine in the fall. Kershaw must get that monkey off his back before he calls it a career.
Nevertheless, Kershaw has proven for the last decade that he is one of the most unhittable pitchers in baseball. While Jacob deGrom was sharp a season ago, Kershaw has been doing that for basically his entire career. The only year he was off in was his rookie campaign back in 2008 when he finished with an ERA of 4.26.
Since his sophomore year in 2009, Kershaw hasn’t had an ERA above 3.00 in his career. The highest ERA was a 2.91 in 2010. In 26 starts in 2018, he finished with a 2.73 ERA to prove once again that he is far from finished. Kershaw is going to have to silence the doubters again this season. He had some inflammation and the Dodgers wanted to be cautious with him before giving him the green light.
It’s a smart move, as the schedule is a marathon and not a sprint. Bringing him back before feeling fully healthy would have been a foolish move. Reds’ hitters have faced Kershaw 44 times at the dish and are hitting .205. Joey Votto is the only Red to take Kershaw deep in his career. We will see if his old teammate, Yasiel Puig, can go long against his former team and the best pitcher in their rotation.
Luis Castillo has been strong as ever in the first-half of April. He has allowed a total of just 5 hits in three games, which includes only 2 runs allowed in 19.2 innings pitched. Castillo has allowed an average of just 0.66 hitters to reach base as well. This is after posting an ERA of 4.30 last season and a 3.12 ERA the previous year as a rookie.
Castillo was heating up late last season, though, and it’s carried over in year-three. Dating back to 2018, Castillo hasn’t given up more than 2 runs in eight straight outings. He got the call on Opening Day for the Reds and is quickly turning into the ace of the ball club. Also note that the Dodgers are hitting just .194 against him in 36 appearances at the plate. I see a 4-2 or 3-2 final score in this one, as Castillo and Kershaw duel at Dodger Stadium on Monday night.