A look at what’s happening around the major leagues today:
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will pitch at Fenway Park for the first time when he starts Game 1 of the World Series against the Red Sox. The oldest park in the majors has a lot of quirks that can present many challenges for newcomers, but Kershaw says he’s focusing on Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez and the lineup of a team that won 108 games.
The Dodgers haven’t played an interleague game at Fenway since 2010, meaning Yasiel Puig, Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy will be getting their first looks on the field. The team took turns Monday throwing balls at a small, square space in the Green Monster, a little fun target practice while waiting for the real games to begin.
Game 1 should be a cold one. Forecasts call for the temperature to be around 50 degrees for the 8:09 p.m. first pitch, and it will cool off during the game to the high 40s. There is a 50-50 chance of rain during the afternoon, but it is expected to pass by game time.
Chris Sale would rather talk about the ring he can win as a World Series champion instead of the almost certainly nonexistent navel ring that — he maintains with a straight face — scratched him from a start in the last round. The Red Sox left-hander will belly up to the mound to start against Los Angeles 10 days after his last outing and nine after he was hospitalized with what the team called a “stomach illness.” Sale joked — we think — that it was from a piercing gone bad, and he kept up the ruse back in Boston.
“I’m not going to spill all of my secrets,” he said.
Sale said Monday that he is back to 100 percent, and he deflected questions about the illness that melted even more weight away from his 6-foot-6, 180-pound frame. But his comment about the belly button ring has exploded like the infected wound he is pretending to have. Brock Holt said he would get a nipple or belly button ring if the Red Sox win it all; second baseman Ian Kinsler said it might become a trend.
Yoenis Cespedes’ agent may be the next general manager of the New York Mets. Brodie Van Wagenen interviewed for the job Monday and is among three finalists along with former Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin and Tampa Bay senior vice president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom. The 44-year-old Van Wagenen has been co-head of CAA Baseball since 2010 and is familiar to the Mets as the representative for Cespedes, Jacob deGrom and Tim Tebow.
“In my role as an agent, my solution is to create opportunities for players to be successful both on and off the field,” Van Wagenen said. “My conversations with the Mets continue to be organic. I believe baseball is better when the Mets are competitive and successful.”
Brad Ausmus is promising to blend a better appreciation of analytics with his sturdy baseball foundation as he takes over as Angels manager. Ausmus was introduced as the replacement for Mike Scioscia on Monday, becoming the first new manager for Los Angeles in this millennium. Ausmus was dropped by the Detroit Tigers last fall after four intermittently successful seasons as their manager ended with a wholesale franchise rebuild. He spent the past year working in the Angels’ front office, examining every aspect of the organization as an assistant to general manager Billy Eppler.
Ausmus thinks his lack of managerial experience was an asset when Detroit hired him, as he fit into the popular mold of hiring managers shortly removed from their playing days. But he feels better prepared for his second dugout job — partly because he has a newfound appreciation for the role of analytics in the modern game.