Clayton Kershaw will "always have a spot" on the Dodgers if he wants to remain in Los Angeles next season, says team president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. 

Drafted out of high school by the Dodgers in 2006, Kershaw has spent his entire career with the franchise but is a free agent this offseason after the team declined to issue him a qualifying offer for 2022. 

That decision was not a surprise, as forearm problems caused Kershaw to miss more than two months during the regular season and the entire postseason. 

But Friedman told reporters on Tuesday that move should not be seen as a sign that the door is closed. 

"We've been very outspoken that we really want Kersh to come back, not only what he's meant to us looking back, but also what we think he will mean for us looking forward," Friedman said at the MLB general managers' meetings in California, via ESPN. 

"That being said - just like every free agent, but Kersh even a little bit more so - he has earned the right to be in this position and figure out what's best for him and his family.

"So there's like a personal and a professional tug of war for me. Professionally I really hope he's back, personally I want them to do what makes the most sense for their family, and we'll figure out what that means."

Kershaw wrapped up a three-year, $93million contract this season, and the Dallas-area native's hometown Texas Rangers are expected to make a strong push to sign him. 

The 33-year-old went 10-8 with a 3.55 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 121.2 innings this season, the ERA representing the second-worst of his career ahead of only a 4.26 as a rookie in 2008. 

Kershaw has a 185-84 career record with 2,670 strikeouts and a 2.49 ERA, winning three Cy Young Awards and eight All-Star selections along the way in addition to the 2014 National League MVP award. 

 

The Los Angeles Dodgers declined to extend a qualifying offer to Clayton Kershaw as the veteran ace prepares to enter free agency amid uncertainty over his MLB future.

Kershaw, who did not pitch in the MLB playoffs as the Dodgers lost to the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series (NLCS) due to the recurrence of a forearm problem, has spent his entire 14-year career in Los Angeles.

The World Series champion and three-time Cy Young Award winner is a free agent following the conclusion of his three-year, $93million contract with the Dodgers.

While the Dodgers lodged offers to free agent All-Stars Corey Seager and Chris Taylor prior to Sunday's deadline – worth $18.4m for one year – there was none forthcoming for future Hall of Famer Kershaw.

However, the Dodgers are reportedly still keen on bringing Kershaw back to LA for at least one more season as both parties take time to determine the 33-year-old's health.

Kershaw – an eight-time All-Star and 2014 NL MVP – made his debut for the Dodgers in 2008.

In 2021, Kershaw finished with a 3.55 ERA, the worst of his illustrious career since his rookie year (4.26) with the Dodgers.

Kershaw had a 10-8 record this season with 144 strikeouts in 121.2 innings pitched.

Overall, Kershaw has a 185-84 win-loss record with 2,670 strikeouts and a career 2.49 ERA.

The Los Angeles Dodgers doubt Clayton Kershaw will pitch for the World Series champions in the MLB playoffs after the ace landed on the 10-day injured list.

Kershaw is back on the IL just days before the Dodgers begin their quest for back-to-back championships due to left forearm discomfort, the franchise announced on Saturday.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner had returned from a left forearm injury, which sidelined him for 57 games, however the star pitcher exited Friday's clash with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Kershaw – an eight-time All-Star and National League (NL) MVP who is in the final season of his three-year, $93million contract – lasted just 1.2 innings, giving up three runs with one strikeout against the Brewers.

As the Dodgers prepare for the offseason, manager Dave Roberts was asked if the 33-year-old future Hall of Famer will pitch again this year and he told reporters: "I don't think so.

"I think right now where we're at, we're going to proceed with that mindset. I'm certainly saddened, hoping we never had to get to this point.

"You know, you want to be certainly very thoughtful and sensitive to Clayton, but in the same breath, still kind of making sure we stay focused on moving forward. That's kind of where we're all at."

In 2021, Kershaw's ERA stands at 3.55 – his highest number since his rookie year (4.26) with the Dodgers in 2008.

Kershaw – a World Series champion – boasts a 10-8 record this season with 144 strikeouts in 121.2 innings pitched.

"My future's gonna take care of itself," Kershaw said after leaving Friday's contest. "I'm not really worried about that right now. I really wanted to be a part of the moment right now, and I wanted to be with this group going through October.

"That was my only focus this year. Once I got hurt, it was just to come back and make it up for this month. That's the hard part right now is knowing it's gonna be a challenge to even contribute at all this next month.

"But as far as anything else goes — I haven't wrapped my head around it, and I don't plan to any time soon. I'm just excited to watch these guys next month."

Shohei Ohtani dazzled again as the two-way star fuelled the Los Angeles Angels' 6-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in MLB action on Sunday.

Ohtani led the way with a double, triple, a home run and three RBIs as the Angels topped the Rays in the series finale at Tropicana Field.

The Japanese sensation improved his season tally to 25 homers and 11 stolen bases for the Angels in 2021, while he has also recorded 82 strikeouts as a pitcher.

According to Stats Perform, only two players in American League (AL) history have had 25-plus home runs, 10-plus stolen bases and 75-pitching strikeouts in their careers – Hall of Famer and all-time great Babe Ruth and Ohtani (reached all three already this season).

Ohtani is also the fastest Angels hitter ever to reach 25 home runs in a season after 77 games.

 

Red Sox sweep Yankees

New day and same story for the Boston Red Sox, who made light work of bitter rivals the New York Yankees 9-2. The Red Sox swept the Yankees in a three-game series for the second time in a span of three weeks.

Max Kranick enjoyed a perfect debut as he helped the Pittsburgh Pirates take down the slumping St Louis Cardinals 7-2. Kranick retired the side in the fifth inning, pitching five perfect innings in his major league debut before a rain delay forced him from the game. The 23-year-old struck out three on a memorable day.

Cole Irvin remains unbeaten after striking out eight batters in eight innings as the Oakland Athletics avoided a sweep by upstaging the San Francisco Giants 6-2.

The Toronto Blue Jays took down the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 for their seventh victory in eight games. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. improved his league-leading RBI total to 66 after driving in two runs.

 

Santiago MLB's first victim

Seattle Mariners pitcher Hector Santiago was ejected in the fifth inning of the team's 3-2 win over the Chicago White Sox as part of MLB's crackdown in foreign substances. Since June 21, MLB has enhanced its enforcement of the rules that prohibit applying foreign substances to baseballs, with pitchers subjected to random checks and could face ejections, fines and suspensions of 10 games. Santiago had his glove inspected and confiscated in the opening game of the doubleheader, though the veteran insisted he only used rosin.

"[Umpire Phil Cuzzi] said he felt some sticky stuff on the inside of the glove," Santiago said after becoming the first pitcher to be ejected as part of the crackdown. "All I used was rosin. I used it on both sides, trying to keep that sweat from dripping down to the hands."

 

Kershaw at this best

It was a vintage Clayton Kershaw performance as World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers crushed the Chicago Cubs 7-1. The Dodgers ace struck out a season-high 13 batters over eight dominant innings.

 

Sunday's results

Seattle Mariners 3-2 Chicago White Sox
Chicago White Sox 7-5 Seattle Mariners
Toronto Blue Jays 5-2 Baltimore Orioles
Los Angeles Angels 6-4 Tampa Bay Rays
Atlanta Braves 4-0 Cincinnati Reds
Detroit Tigers 2-1 Houston Astros
Boston Red Sox 9-2 New York Yankees
Philadelphia Phillies 4-2 New York Mets
Washington Nationals 5-1 Miami Marlins
Minnesota Twins 8-2 Cleveland Indians
Milwaukee Brewers 5-0 Colorado Rockies
Pittsburgh Pirates 7-2 St Louis Cardinals
Texas Rangers 4-1 Kansas City Royals
Oakland Athletics 6-2 San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres 5-4 Arizona Diamondbacks
Los Angeles Dodgers 7-1 Chicago Cubs
 

 

Giants at Dodgers

It will be a clash of the titans when the Giants (50-27) visit the Dodgers (47-31) in an all-National League (NL) West showdown on Monday. Anthony DeSclafani starts for the Giants – who own the best record in baseball – as the Dodgers send Trevor Bauer to the mound.

Clayton Kershaw could not inspire the Los Angeles Dodgers to victory going down 6-4 to the freewheeling Atlanta Braves in MLB on Saturday.

Kershaw has an exceptional record against the Braves and, in the main, he continued that with nine strikeouts, giving up only eight hits, five earned, across his 95-pitch effort.

But the Braves have been free scoring this year and for the 33rd game this season they scored five or more runs, with Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna Jr touching down in a five-run third inning which flipped the game.

It was the first time since 2016 that Kershaw has given up a five-run inning.

Leading 5-4 in the seventh inning, Abraham Almonte hit a home run to give the Braves the lead they would not surrender.

 

Rays win again, Dalbec hits 453-footer

Manuel Margot is ominously beginning to find some form for the Tampa Bay Rays as they won 3-0 against the struggling Texas Rangers.

The Rays claimed their 18th win from their past 22 games, with Margot hitting his fifth home run of the season.

Bobby Dalbec smashed a 453-foot home run, the longest by a Boston Red Sox player at Yankees Stadium since records commenced as they won 7-3.

For the Yankees, Gleyber Torres continues to find his groove with a home run.

Jacob de Grom had 11 strikeouts across seven innings as the New York Mets silenced Fernando Tatis Jr and the San Diego Padres in a 4-0 victory.

Jose Peraza hit a solo home run, while Francisco Lindor regained some touch with a homer of his own.

Shohei Ohtani backed up his 10 strikeouts on Friday with a first-inning home run in the Los Angeles Angels' 12-5 triumph over the Seattle Mariners.

San Francisco Giants pitcher Kevin Gausman had 10 strikeouts as his side won 4-3 over the Chicago Cubs.

Gausman has had a sensational season for the Giants, coming in at 6-0 and with a 1.40 ERA, setting up the win across his seven pitching innings.

 

Fumbly Giants

The Giants got nervy in the ninth inning against the Cubs with some comical errors in the field, including two fumbles by Mauricio Dubon and a collision. At least they managed to hold on.

 

Number 18 for Guerrero

Vladimir Guerrero Jr moved clear at the top of the charts with a league-high 18th home run in the Toronto Blue Jays' 6-2 win over the Houston Astros. He also leads MLB in a range of statistics, including RBI, with 47.

 

Saturday's results

Detroit Tigers 4-3 Chicago White Sox
Cincinnati Reds 5-2 St Louis Cardinals
Toronto Blue Jays 6-2 Houston Astros
Philadelphia Phillies 5-2 Washington Nationals
Cleveland Indians 10-4 Baltimore Orioles
Tampa Bay Rays 3-0 Texas Rangers
Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 Miami Marlins
Minnesota Twins 5-4 Kansas City Royals
Milwaukee Brewers 7-5 Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants 4-3 Chicago Cubs
Boston Red Sox 7-3 New York Yankees
Atlanta Braves 6-4 Los Angeles Dodgers
Oakland Athletics 6-3 Colorado Rockies
Los Angeles Angels 12-5 Seattle Mariners
New York Mets 4-0 San Diego Padres

 

Mets at Padres

The New York Mets round out their road series against the San Diego Padres.

A new day but the same result for struggling World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers, who suffered a 6-5 walk-off defeat to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.

The Dodgers were condemned to walk-off misery in game two of Tuesday's doubleheader and the slumping MLB holders experienced the same fate midweek.

Anthony Rizzo hit an RBI single in a two-run 11th inning to lift the Cubs, who completed a sweep of the Dodgers at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

The Cubs swept the Dodgers – who lost for the 13th time in 17 games following a 13-2 start to the season – at Wrigley Field for the first time since 2008.

Meanwhile, Baltimore Orioles ace John Means entered the MLB history books after throwing a no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners.

Means threw the Orioles' first solo no-hitter since Jim Palmer in 1969 as Baltimore blanked the Mariners 6-0.

It was an almost perfect performance for Means, who retired all 27 batters he faced in Seattle but did allow a baserunner when Sam Haggerty reached on a third-strike wild pitch in the third inning.

Means is the first pitcher to throw a non-perfect no-hitter in which the team did not record a walk, hit by pitch or error.

According to Stats Perform, Means is also the second pitcher in American League (AL) history to throw a no-hitter with 12-plus strikeouts and 0 walks, joining Felix Fernandez – who had a perfect game in 2012.

 

Fulmer follows in Ryan's footsteps

Detroit Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer earned his first career save in a 6-5 win over the Boston Red Sox. Fulmer retied Bobby Dalbec and Kike Hernandez to snap Detroit's six-game skid. According to Stats Perform, Fulmer is the first pitcher to get a save the day after a start of less than an inning since Nolan Ryan in 1973.

Marcell Ozuna hit a grand slam to lead the Atlanta Braves past the Washington Nationals 5-3, while Didi Gregorius also managed a grand slam as the Philadelphia Phillies topped the Milwaukee Brewers 5-4.

Giancarlo Stanton stayed hot with a homer and four runs in the New York Yankees' 6-3 win against the Houston Astros. Stanton homered in back-to-back games for the first time since last July as the Yankees extended their winning streak to six games.

 

A's falter against Jays

The Oakland Athletics were leading the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 before faltering. Toronto produced a five-run eighth inning to rally past the A's. Lou Trivino struggled in the eighth, allowing three hits, five runs – all earned – and two walks. Toronto won 9-4.

 

Ohtani the freak

Is there anything Shohei Ohtani cannot do? The two-way Los Angeles Angels star – returning to the mound – caught his own pitch in a fine example of his fielding and agility. Ohtani pitched five scoreless innings, giving up just one hit while striking out seven but the Angels still lost 3-1 to the Tampa Bay Rays.

 

Wednesday results

Cincinnati Reds 1-0 Chicago White Sox
Colorado Rockies 6-5 San Francisco Giants
Baltimore Orioles 6-0 Seattle Mariners
St Louis Cardinals 4-1 New York Mets
New York Mets 7-2 St Louis Cardinals
Miami Marlins 8-0 Arizona Diamondbacks
Atlanta Braves 5-3 Washington Nationals
New York Yankees 6-3 Houston Astros
Philadelphia Phillies 5-4 Milwaukee Brewers
Detroit Tigers 6-5 Boston Red Sox
Chicago Cubs 6-5 Los Angeles Dodgers
Texas Rangers 3-1 Minnesota Twins
Cleveland Indians 5-4 Kansas City Royals
San Diego Padres 4-2 Pittsburgh Pirates
Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 Los Angeles Angels
Toronto Blue Jays 9-4 Oakland Athletics

 

Blue Jays at Athletics

The Blue Jays will look to split their series away to the Athletics on Thursday. Blue Jays ace Ryu Hyun-jin starts, while the A's counter with Mike Fiers.

Clayton Kershaw and Trevor Bauer were on the mound for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday, but the MLB World Series champions were still swept by the Chicago Cubs.

Dodgers ace Kershaw and reigning National League (NL) Cy Young Award winner Bauer started in games one and two respectively, however, the Cubs were 7-1 and 4-3 victors to sweep the doubleheader in Chicago.

The Cubs secured the day-night sweep in walk-off fashion as the Dodgers lost for the eighth time in 10 games.

Elsewhere, the Houston Astros were greeted by boos and bad words in their first visit to New York since the sign-stealing scandal.

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw was left embarrassed by his shortest career start in MLB, labelling the performance "horrible".

Kershaw – a future Hall of Famer – lasted just one inning in game one of a doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs, who beat the World Series champions 7-1 on Tuesday.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner and 2014 National League (NL) MVP allowed four runs in the opening inning at Wrigley Field. It was only the second time in his illustrious career where he allowed four or more runs in the first inning.

"It's embarrassing. No excuses," Dodgers veteran Kershaw – also an eight-time All-Star – said after giving up four hits and two walks while striking out two.

"That was horrible. I put our team in a really bad spot in the doubleheader. 

"Thankfully, the 'pen stepped up and ate some innings for me. Just chalk it up to a really bad start and get ready for the next one."

Kershaw added: "I could overanalyse it and try and think about it, but I have no idea. Everything was bad.

"I'm not going to try and analyse it too much. Just hope this one was an outlier and get ready for the next one."

Kershaw's ERA rose from 2.09 to 2.95 as the stuttering Dodgers lost for the seventh time in nine games.

"I would have liked to continue to go and try to be better," the 33-year-old said. "But when you're that bad, you really can't stand up for yourself too much."

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said: "I just think the volume in that first inning, and kind of looking out at the upside of having him go back out there, I just didn’t see it.

"It just didn't seem like he had the feel for any spin today, and even the fastball location just wasn't what it normally is. For me, it's an outlier outing and we've just got to move forward."

New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom matched an MLB record, but it was not enough to avoid a 1-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox.

DeGrom tied Nolan Ryan's record for most strikeouts through a pitcher's first five starts of a season, however, the Mets were beaten on Wednesday.

Mets star DeGrom tallied nine strikeouts over six innings to improve his five-game total to 59, matching Ryan's feat in 1978.

DeGrom, who has allowed two earned runs all season while boasting a National League (NL)-leading ERA (0.51), saw Christian Vazquez hit an early RBI double which produced the winning run in the second inning at Citi Field midweek.

World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers, meanwhile, snapped a three-game skid by shutting out the Cincinnati Reds 8-0.

Seeking to avoid a series sweep, the Dodgers benefited from a trademark Clayton Kershaw performance at home to the Reds.

Kershaw was dominant over seven innings, yielding just four hits while striking out eight batters with one walk as Justin Turner homered for the Dodgers.

 

Padres in 11-year first

The San Diego Padres humbled the Arizona Diamondbacks 12-3. During the rout, the Padres tallied seven successive hits without recording an out in the fifth inning – the first time they have managed to do so since April 2010 (also in the fifth).

A five-homer game from the Atlanta Braves inspired a 10-0 demolition of the Chicago Cubs. Marcell Ozuna homered in a four-run first inning, while Huascar Ynoa hit his first career home run in the fourth. Freddie Freeman posted his seventh home of the season, while Ozzie Albies and Austin Riley also went deep.

 

All good things must end as Matz struggles

Steven Matz had won his first four starts for the Toronto Blue Jays after being acquired from the Mets in January. However, Matz lasted less than four innings in an 8-2 defeat to the Washington Nationals. In George Springer's long-awaited Blue Jays debut, Matz gave up six runs and eight hits, including a three-run shot in the fourth inning.

 

Rizzo strikes out Freeman…

Anthony Rizzo versus Freeman. It is a showdown you do not often see but the Cubs star sensationally came out on top. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Rizzo took to the mound and struck out reigning NL MVP Freeman – his first career strikeout as a pitcher as both players smiled.

 

 

Wednesday's results

Minnesota Twins 10-2 Cleveland Indians
Miami Marlins 6-2 Milwaukee Brewers
Los Angeles Dodgers 8-0 Cincinnati Reds
Kansas City Royals 9-6 Pittsburgh Pirates
Boston Red Sox 1-0 New York Mets
New York Yankees 7-0 Baltimore Orioles
Washington Nationals 8-2 Toronto Blue Jays
Tampa Bay Rays 2-0 Oakland Athletics
Atlanta Braves 10-0 Chicago Cubs
Philadelphia Phillies 5-3 St Louis Cardinals
Los Angeles Angels 4-3 Texas Rangers
Houston Astros 7-5 Seattle Mariners
San Diego Padres 12-3 Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants 7-3 Colorado Rockies
Detroit Tigers-Chicago White Sox (postponed)

 

Dodgers at Brewers

After returning to winning ways, the Dodgers (16-9) will open their series against the Brewers (14-10) on Thursday. Trevor Bauer gets the nod on the mound for the Dodgers, while Milwaukee's Eric Lauer starts.

World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers swept the Washington Nationals with a 3-0 shutout on Sunday as Clayton Kershaw outduelled Max Scherzer in a pitching showdown.

In his first home start as a World Series winner, Dodgers ace Kershaw struck out six batters over six scoreless innings without a walk against the struggling Nationals, while Zach McKinstry drove in all three runs.

Kershaw – a future Hall of Famer and three-time National League (NL) Cy Young Award winner – has now allowed just one run across his last two starts, striking out 14 over 13 innings.

Scherzer – also a three-time NL Cy Young winner and World Series champion – pitched six innings of three-hit ball with five strikeouts and a walk.

"Max has obviously had an unbelievable run with what he's done over there in Washington. I have a ton of respect for him and everything he's done in this game," Kershaw said after the Dodgers improved to 8-2 for the season.

"You try not to attack it any differently. You always try to put up zeroes on the board. But after we got that early run there, you try and make it stand as best you can, knowing that Max probably isn't going to give up many himself. [We're] fortunate today that it worked out."

The Philadelphia Phillies, meanwhile, snapped the Atlanta Braves' four-game winning streak following a narrow 7-6 victory.

Didi Gregorius fuelled the Phillies with a three-run home in a four-run fourth inning, while he had the go-ahead sacrifice fly in the ninth.

It was a controversial finish after Alec Bohm managed a double off Will Smith at the start of the ninth before advancing to third on a bunt and scoring to make it 7-6.

Bohm was initially called safe following Marcell Ozuna's throw, and the decision was upheld, despite replays appearing to show the former's foot missing the plate as the Phillies avoided a sweep.

 

Debutant Odor lifts Yankees

Rougned Odor – acquired from the Texas Rangers – capped his New York Yankees debut with a go-ahead single at the top of the 10th inning in an 8-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. According to Stats Perform, it was the fourth time since 1974 a player's first hit with the Yankees delivered the game-winning RBI in extra innings, following Chase Headley (2014), Alfonso Soriano (1999) and Alex Johnson (1974).

The Seattle Mariners rallied past the Minnesota Twins 8-6. Seattle came back from being six-plus runs down and won for the first time since 2016.

 

De Leon and Reds put to the sword

It was a rough outing for Jose De Leon and the Cincinnati Reds, who were blanked 7-0 by the Arizona Diamondbacks. De Leon allowed six runs over a little more than four innings, walking three and fiving up eight hits, including two home runs.

 

Martinez delivers a masterclass

Boston Red Sox star J.D. Martinez already has 12 extra-base hits in eight games this season. It is the most by any player in their first eight games of a campaign in American League (AL) history. The Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 14-9 on the back of his three homers.

 

Sunday's results

Boston Red Sox 14-9 Baltimore Orioles
Pittsburgh Pirates 7-1 Chicago Cubs
Cleveland Indians 5-2 Detroit Tigers
New York Yankees 8-4 Tampa Bay Rays
Kansas City Royals 4-3 Chicago White Sox
Seattle Mariners 8-6 Minnesota Twins
Milwaukee Brewers 9-3 St Louis Cardinals
San Diego Padres 2-0 Texas Rangers
Arizona Diamondbacks 7-0 Cincinnati Reds
San Francisco Giants 4-0 Colorado Rockies
Los Angeles Dodgers 3-0 Washington Nationals
Philadelphia Phillies 7-6 Atlanta Braves
Miami Marlins 0-0 New York Mets (suspended, to resume August 31)
Los Angeles Angels-Toronto Blue Jays (postponed)

 

Yankees at Blue Jays

After their series finale against the Angels was postponed, the Blue Jays will welcome AL East rivals the Yankees to Dunedin for Monday's series opener.

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw returned to form as the World Series champions crushed the helpless Oakland Athletics 5-1 in MLB action on Tuesday.

Kershaw – a three-time Cy Young Award winner – struggled on Opening Day following a difficult Spring Training campaign for the Dodgers.

But Kershaw bounced back against the winless Athletics, striking out eight batters across seven solid innings in Oakland.

Kershaw allowed one run and four hits and did not walk a batter as the star pitcher retired 20 of 22 opponents for the Dodgers, who won their fifth consecutive game.

Dodgers team-mate Mookie Betts homered for the first time this season, while team-mates Max Muncy and Edwin Rios also went long for the visitors.

In New York, three-time All-Star Gerrit Cole impressed with a 13-strikeout gem – his most in a regular-season game since joining the franchise in 2020 – as the Yankees made light work of the Baltimore Orioles 7-2.

Yankees ace Cole allowed four hits without a walk over seven scoreless innings, while slugger Aaron Judge and Jay Bruce homered at Yankee Stadium.

Per Stats Perform, Cole already has 21 punchouts this season – tying Al Downing (1964) for the most by any Yankees pitcher in his first two starts of a season.

 

Reds flying after slow start

The Cincinnati Reds humbled the Pittsburgh Pirates 14-1. Cincinnati allowed 11 runs on Opening Day but have proceeded to score 40 runs over their next four games. According to Stats Perform, they are the first National League (NL) team to allow 10-plus runs in their first game and then tally 40-plus runs over the next four since the 1877 Louisville Grays (47 runs).

Juan Soto was the hero for the Washington Nationals, hitting a walk-off home run in the ninth inning in a 6-5 victory against the Atlanta Braves.

American League (AL) MVP Jose Abreu crushed his second grand slam of the season to lead the Chicago White Sox to a 10-4 success against the Seattle Mariners.

 

Roark rocked in Texas

Tanner Roark's first start of the season for the Toronto Blue Jays was a dismal one. The veteran pitcher gave up three homers – five runs – in three innings as the Blue Jays lost 7-4 to the Texas Rangers. He finished with a 15.00 ERA for the night.

 

The Baddoo legend grows

Akil Baddoo continued his amazing start to his MLB career. After homering on his very first pitch in the big leagues on Sunday, Baddoo hit a grand slam on Monday. Not satisfied with that, he hit a walk-off homer to lift the Detroit Tigers past the Minnesota Twins 4-3 – in just his third appearance.

 

Tuesday's results

Detroit Tigers 4-3 Minnesota Twins
Washington Nationals 6-5 Atlanta Braves
Houston Astros 4-2 Los Angeles Angels
New York Yankees 7-2 Baltimore Orioles
Cincinnati Reds 14-1 Pittsburgh Pirates
St Louis Cardinals 4-2 Miami Marlins
New York Mets 8-4 Philadelphia Phillies
Boston Red Sox 6-5 Tampa Bay Rays
Milwaukee Brewers 4-0 Chicago Cubs
Texas Rangers 7-4 Toronto Blue Jays
Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 Oakland Athletics
San Diego Padres 3-1 San Francisco Giants
Chicago White Sox 10-4 Seattle Mariners
Arizona Diamondbacks 10-8 Colorado Rockies

 

Braves at Nationals

After finally opening their season, the coronavirus-hit Nationals (1-0) will look to stay undefeated in a doubleheader against the winless Braves (0-4) on Wednesday. Erick Fedde will start game one for the Nationals against Atlanta's Max Fried, while ace Stephen Strasbourg takes to the mound in the second clash as the Braves counter with Huascar Ynoa.

World Series champions Los Angeles Dodgers were humbled on the Opening Day of the new Major League Baseball season 8-5 by the Colorado Rockies on Thursday.

The Dodgers had 14 stranded runners throughout the game while Cody Bellinger hit a ball into the stands which did not count as a home run on a strange afternoon.

With crowds returning to MLB, the Dodgers were unable to get off to a flying start.

"Honestly, we just didn’t play a good baseball game," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "All the way around, we didn’t play well."

In the Houston Astros' first game back playing in front of crowds since their cheating scandal emerged they were jeered and boed in an 8-1 win on the road against the Oakland Athletics.

Back-to-back home runs from Michael Brantley and Alex Bregman in the eighth put the Astros out of sight and silenced the crowd.

 

Trout lifts Angels, Mariners mighty comeback

Mike Trout flexed his muscle as the Los Angeles Angels rallied to beat the Chicago White Sox 4-3. At the bottom of the eighth, a visibly pumped Trout's hit gave him an RBI and tied the game. Shohei Ohtani then got on the board after an error by second baseman Nick Madrigal.

The Seattle Mariners trailed 6-1 in the eighth inning against the San Francisco Giants before mounting a remarkable fightback and eventually prevail 8-7. The winning run came when Jake Fraley walked with the bases loaded.

The New York Yankees' bats let them down as they were beaten 3-2 by the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Tampa Day Rays shut out the Miami Marlins in a 1-0 win earned by Austin Meadows' solo home run in the ninth.

 

Bellinger denied by mix-up

Bellinger was denied his first homer of the new season in a moment of confusion, when team-mate Justin Turner, who was on first base, thought Bellinger had been caught in the outfield and ran back. Bellinger's hit was actually fumbled by Raimel Tapia over the fence so when Turner reversed and passed by the left-hander that made him out and resulted in only an RBI single.

 

First homer of season

Detroit Tigers hitter Miguel Cabrera claimed the maiden homer of the new season in driving snow, which left him confused, sliding into base just in case it had not cleared the fence.

 

Thursday's results

Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 New York Yankees
Detroit Tigers 3-2 Cleveland Indians
Milwaukee Brewers 6-5 Minnesota Twins
Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Chicago Cubs
Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 Atlanta Braves
Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 Miami Marlins
St Louis Cardinals 11-6 Cincinnati Reds
Colorado Rockies 8-5 Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres 8-7 Arizona Diamondbacks
Kansas City Royals 14-10 Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels 4-3 Chicago White Sox
Houston Astros 8-1 Oakland Athletics 
Seattle Mariners 8-7 San Fransisco Giants 

 

Dodgers to bounce back

The Dodgers will look to bounce back from their opening day loss on Friday on the road again versus the Colorado Rockies.

Opening Day.

A term synonymous with baseball across the United States and the globe. For fans, it is nothing short of a national holiday.

The highly anticipated start to the season on April 1 is an occasion steeped in history, with tradition front and centre.

This year's Opening Day means more than most. It is the latest signal of American life and sport returning to normal amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The coronavirus pandemic led to an enforced break and a reduced 60-game regular season schedule behind closed doors, with a limited number of fans allowed to attend the playoffs as the Los Angeles Dodgers went on to end their 32-year World Series drought.

But 2021 will see the return of the usual 162-game calendar and more importantly, spectators in the stands. All but one of the 30 teams will start at reduced capacity – the Texas Rangers hosting a full house for their home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays.

As America's pastime begins anew, we preview the upcoming season, in which the Dodgers look to defend their World Series crown, using Stats Perform data.
 

Kershaw gears up for a franchise-record start

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw – entering the final season of his three-year, $93million deal – will be on the mound when the Dodgers open their title defence against the Colorado Rockies.

It will be Kershaw's ninth Opening Day start – the most in franchise history – after injuries prevented him from beginning the 2019 and 2020 campaigns, the eight-time All-Star getting the nod ahead of Walker Buehler and high-profile recruit Trevor Bauer, the reigning National League (NL) Cy Young winner.

Future Hall of Famer Kershaw boasts a 5-1 record on Opening Day, with a 1.05 ERA (6/51.2), 59 strikeouts and eight walks. The 2014 NL MVP's only loss came in his previous start in 2018 as he allowed eight hits and one earned run, while tallying seven strikeouts in six innings against the San Francisco Giants.

Since 1913, when ERA became an official stat, Kershaw has managed the lowest Opening Day figure among pitchers with six starts – 1.05. The 32-year-old's ERA is ahead of Bob Feller (1.21), Jim Palmer (1.40), Hal Newhouser (1.41) and Walter Johnson (1.51).

As for the star-studded Dodgers, they are 74-62 (.544) all-time on Opening Day, winning nine of their 10 season openers since 2011, losing only in 2018.

Their 9-1 (.900) Opening Day record over this stretch is the best in the league, ahead of the Houston Astros (8-2), Baltimore Orioles (8-2), Seattle Mariners (7-3), Detroit Tigers (7-3) and New York Mets (7-3).
 

All eyes on Tatis and Padres

Fernando Tatis Jr. heads into the 2021 season fresh off signing his eye-popping 14-year, $340m contract with the San Diego Padres.

The Padres – winners of two NL pennants – are pinning their hopes on MLB's new poster boy delivering a first World Series to San Diego.

Tatis won a Silver Slugger award last year, having hit .277 with 17 home runs and 45 RBIs in the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season.

The powerful 22-year-old is the first player in MLB history to have at least 35 home runs and 25 stolen bases within the first 150 games of his career.

Tatis – the youngest Padres player to debut on Opening Day (20 years and 85 days) in 2019 – became the fastest player in franchise history (24 team games) to reach the double-digit home run mark in a season in 2020 after hitting his 10th and 11th homers in August.

In the postseason, Tatis homered twice against the St Louis Cardinals in October, becoming the youngest Padre to ever homer in a playoff game (21 years and 273 days) and the third-youngest player in MLB history to homer twice in a postseason match, behind Carlos Correa (21 and 20 days old) and Andruw Jones (19 years, 180 days old).

When it comes to on-base plus slugging, Tatis stacks up well. Since 1920, Tatis (150.8) is only behind Juan Soto (153.9 – 2018-20), Albert Pujols (159.3 – 2001), Jimmie Foxx (160.0 – 1925-29), Ted Williams (161.5 – 1939-40) and Trout (165.0 – 2011-13) for highest OPS-plus up until the age of 21.

Across his two Opening Day appearances, Tatis has three hits in seven at-bats and two runs while slugging at .571. The Padres will be hoping he can improve on that when they host face the Arizona Diamondbacks.

By comparison, Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper and New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton love Opening Day.

Harper – the 2015 NL MVP and six-time All-Star – has nine hits, five homers and six runs in eight appearances, while 2017 NL MVP Stanton has 13 hits, four homers, 10 runs and 12 RBIs through 10 games.

Blue Jays recruit George Springer, a World Series winner with the Astros, has also impressed on Opening Day following five hits, three homers and six RBIs in six games.
 

Can Abreu and Freeman go back-to-back?

Chicago White Sox star Jose Abreu was crowned the American League's best in 2020.

Becoming the 28th player to win both the MVP and Rookie of the Year in his career, Abreu beat Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians and Yankees star DJ LeMahieu.

Abreu – the fourth White Sox player to win the award – was second in MLB with 19 home runs and fourth in the AL with a .317 batting average.

Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves trumped Dodgers star Mookie Betts and Padres sensation Manny Machado to the NL honour.

Freeman's 1.102 OPS was the second highest in MLB, trailing only Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto, while he led the majors with 51 runs scored and was second in the NL in batting average (.341), on-base percentage (.462) and slugging percentage (.640).

Does it bode well for the pair in 2020?

In a season after winning the MVP award, a player averages 135.9 hits, 21.5 homers, 80.5 runs and 79.5 RBIs with a slugging percentage of .516.

There have been 13 players to win back-to-back MVPs; 11-time All-Star Miguel Cabrera (AL) was the last to do so in 2012 and 2013. The most recent player in the NL was Albert Pujols (2008-09).
 

The end of Cleveland as we know them

After 106 years, this will be the last season the franchise will be known as the Indians, following the example of the NFL's Washington Football Team, who dropped their Redskins nickname in 2020 amid a long-time controversy.

Since 1915, Cleveland have won two World Series – in 1920 and 1948 – with their current streak of 71 seasons without a World Series title the longest active run in the majors.

In 1954, Cleveland went 111-43 (.721) in the regular season, before being swept in the World Series by the Giants. It stands as the highest single-season win percentage in AL history, and the best by any MLB team in the past 100 years.

Cleveland have had a winning record in each of the past eight seasons (2013-20), making them one of four MLB teams with an active streak of eight-plus (also Yankees 28, Cardinals 13, Dodgers 10). It is tied for the second-longest streak of winning seasons in franchise history (10 straight 1947-56; eight in a row 1994-2001).

Three Cleveland players have won the AL MVP Award – George Burns (1926), Lou Boudreau (1948) and Al Rosen (1953) – while five have claimed the AL Cy Young Award: Gaylord Perry (1972), C.C. Sabathia (2007), Cliff Lee (2008), Corey Kluber (2014 and 2017) and Shane Bieber (2020).

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will start for the MLB World Series champions on Opening Day.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced on Sunday that Kershaw will be on the mound when the team open their 2021 season against the Colorado Rockies on April 1.

It will be Kershaw's ninth Opening Day start – the most in franchise history – after a back injury prevented him from beginning the 2020 campaign.

Kershaw got the nod in a star-studded bullpen, including Walker Buehler and high-profile recruit Trevor Bauer, who is the reigning National League (NL) Cy Young winner.

"There's really no wrong decision," Roberts said. "I just feel that he's earned it, he's the right guy for the spot for 2021 -- for every reason I just think it makes the most sense."

The 32-year-old Kershaw – entering the final season of his three-year, $93million deal – helped guide the Dodgers to their first World Series triumph since 1988 last season.

During the coronavirus-shortened 2020 campaign, eight-time All-Star and 2014 NL MVP Kershaw had a 2.16 ERA with 62 strikeouts and eight home runs allowed.

In the playoffs, Kershaw's ERA was 2.93 with 37 strikeouts and four wins in five appearances.

The Dodgers will open their title defence away to the Rockies at Coors Field.

Kershaw is 11-5 with a 4.44 ERA when pitching at Coors Field, while the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner owns a 24-8 career record against the Rockies, including a 3.22 ERA.

Los Angeles Dodgers star Clayton Kershaw said he has "no intentions" of retiring at the end of the 2021 MLB season.

Kershaw is entering the final season of his three-year, $93million deal as the Dodgers look to defend their World Series crown.

The 32-year-old Dodgers ace helped guide the star-studded franchise to their first World Series triumph since 1988 last season.

During the coronavirus-shortened 2020 campaign, Kershaw had a 2.16 ERA with 62 strikeouts and eight home runs allowed.

In the playoffs, Kershaw's ERA was 2.93 with 37 strikeouts and four wins in five appearances.

As Kershaw prepares for the new season, the future Hall of Famer insisted he has no plans to call it quits at the end of the campaign.

"I'm on a year-to-year basis," Kershaw told reporters on Sunday. "I wanna re-evaluate at the end of every year and see how we're doing -- as a family, myself personally, where we are as a team -- and then just make a decision from there.

"I have no intentions of hanging them up. I'm only 32. I feel like I have more years left in the tank.

"If you ask me right now, I really still love playing, I feel healthy right now, I feel like the ball's coming out good.

"I'm excited for this year… I'm focused on this year and trying to win a World Series, and then after this year, we'll figure things out."

Kershaw was selected by the Dodgers with the seventh pick in the 2006 MLB Draft, while he made his debut two years later.

During his time in Los Angeles, the star pitcher has earned All-Star selection on eight occasions, to go with National League (NL) MVP honours in 2014.

Kershaw is also a three-time NL Cy Young Award winner and Gold Glove recipient.

"I love being here. I love the Dodgers, I love everything about this organisation," Kershaw added. "I just feel really fortunate that I've gotten to have as many opportunities as I've had to win a World Series, and now that we finally won one, you just don't take that for granted. I really have enjoyed my time here and continue to do so."

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