The last time Clayton Kershaw pitched at Wrigley Field Wayne Gretzky Jersey , the ace left-hander helped lead the Los Angeles Dodgers into the World Series.
It was a much different situation Monday. But still important for the Dodgers.
Kershaw threw a three-inning simulated game before Los Angeles’ series opener against the Chicago Cubs was postponed, taking another step forward in his recovery from a strained lower back. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner said he felt really good and plans to pitch somewhere in four or five days, either in a minor league rehab start or for the Dodgers.
”It was good, very encouraged,” manager Dave Roberts said. ”Just the way that the ball was coming out today, the command of the fastball as good as it’s been for me – and obviously this setting is not a major league game – but for me the best it’s been in a month, for sure.”
The 30-year-old Kershaw was sidelined for nearly a month with left biceps tendinitis before returning May 31 against Philadelphia. He tossed five effective innings in a no-decision against the Phillies, and then went back on the disabled list the next day with the back injury.
The Dodgers said over the weekend that Kershaw was headed for a simulated game Tuesday or Wednesday – in Los Angeles. But Kershaw said that was just one of the plans in the mix.
”I knew it was probably going to be here,” he said. ”It’s just more of a logistical thing. It’s just harder to do in L.A. Nobody’s there when you go on the road.
”It’s just when you have hitters in there it’s good to see some, even though it’s a sim game at least you have them reacting. It was a little bit better today.”
The trip brought Kershaw back to one of the best moments of his outstanding career, a crisp six innings in an 11-1 victory over Chicago in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series last October – sending Los Angeles to the World Series for the first time since 1988. The Dodgers then lost to the Astros in seven games for the title.
He also was greeted by some Los Angeles-like weather Antwaun Woods Jersey , with temperatures in the mid-90s on a steamy day in the Midwest.
”It was hot,” he said. ”It was good, it lets you get loose.”
Kershaw is 1-4 with a 2.76 ERA in just eight starts this year for Los Angeles, which has been riddled by injuries. He missed about five weeks last season with a similar back injury.
While Roberts left open the possibility Kershaw could return this weekend against the Mets, he said the organization was leaning toward a rehab start, likely with Triple-A Oklahoma City.
”You look at how much he’s pitched over the last two months and it hasn’t been a whole lot,” he said. ”So to see it in real competition, obviously that makes a lot of sense.”
Los Angeles had won five of six heading into the three-game set with Chicago. The opener was postponed because of rain and a limited power outage at Wrigley, creating a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday.
The Dodgers have more help on the way than just Kershaw.
Rich Hill is slated to start Tuesday night in his first major league game since May 19. The veteran left-hander has been sidelined by a blister on his left middle finger.
Infielder Chase Utley, who has been sidelined by left thumb sprain, is expected to come off the DL on Tuesday or Wednesday. Rookie right-hander Walker Buehler Youth Le'Veon Bell Jersey , one of baseball’s top pitching prospects, is scheduled for a bullpen session Saturday in New York, continuing his comeback from a right rib microfracture.
”From that point on we’ll have a little more information and figure out how aggressive we’ll want to be with him,” Roberts said.
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore sat on the turf with his hands on his knees, disconsolate as he watched Tampa Bay receiver Mike Evans coast into the end zone after beating him for a 50-yard touchdown.
It was a stark contrast to last November, when Evans caught one pass for 13 yards and received a one-game suspension after blindsiding Lattimore during a scuffle in the Saints’ 30-10 victory at the Superdome.
This time, the Buccaneers‘ offense socked the Saints play after play after play. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for a career-high 417 yards and four touchdowns while compiling a nearly perfect quarterback rating in Tampa Bay’s 48-40 victory in New Orleans on Sunday.
Evans, covered primarily by Lattimore, was targeted seven times and caught all seven throws for 147 yards. DeSean Jackson added five receptions for 145 yards and two touchdowns.
It was a new feeling for Lattimore, the 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year.
“It isn’t going to get me down,” he said. “Everybody gets beat. We needed to get slapped in our face one good time to see we’re not on a level we think we’re on.”
New Orleans Randall Cobb Jersey , the defending NFC South champion, looked like the Super Bowl contender it expected to be on its opening drive, cruising 71 yards in six plays for a touchdown to go ahead 7-0.
Then, the defense took the field.
Jackson caught an easy 58-yard touchdown pass against a busted coverage on the Bucs‘ fourth play, setting the tone.
The Bucs punted only once, and that came because Fitzpatrick overthrew a wide-open Chris Godwin after cornerback Ken Crawley fell. The only other times they did not score were on a missed field goal and when Fitzpatrick took a knee to run out the clock at the end of the first half and the fourth quarter.
“We have to wipe our minds clean of this catastrophe that just happened,” Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan said. “We have to push forward.”
The Saints never sacked Fitzpatrick. He threw for scores of 58, 50, 36 and 9 yards, completed five more passes for at least 20 yards and had another one_a 65-yarder down the sideline to Adam Humphries_negated by an illegal block.
Fitzpatrick, starting because Jameis Winston is suspended for the first three games under the NFL’s personal conduct clause Jonathan Allen Jersey , had a quarterback rating of 156.2, just shy of the maximum 158.3.
“We couldn’t stop anything,” Lattimore said after New Orleans lost its season opener for the fifth straight season. “That’s not going to get it done.”
Drew Brees and the Saints offense matched Tampa Bay for a while, going ahead 17-14 on a 28-yard pass to Ted Ginn. But the Bucs kept scoring while New Orleans committed two costly turnovers.
Evans’ long touchdown on Lattimore gave Tampa Bay a 41-24 lead with 2:58 left in the second quarter. He caught the ball at the 12 as Lattimore dived for him, but could not catch him.
“I have to be there,” Lattimore said. “I’m all on an island by myself with no help. I’m a shutdown corner. I’m going to be frustrated every time somebody catches a pass on me.”
There was plenty of frustration to go around on a day New Orleans wasted 485 yards of offense. After the Saints scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns and a pair of 2-point conversions to close the gap to 48-40, Fitzpatrick scrambled for 12 yards on third-and-11, allowing the Bucs to run out the clock.
It was Tampa Bay’s eighth conversion in 13 third-down opportunities.
“Take your pick,” Saints coach Sean Payton said when asked what went wrong defensively. “We did not hurry the passer. Guys were open. Third downs were awful. They had over 500 yards. We didn’t disrupt the timing to any element of the passing game and (had) too many penalties.
“I can’t think of any positives.”
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