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    Game Day: Kershaw and Ohtani all at once
    • June 28, 2023

    Editor’s note: This is the Wednesday, June 28, 2023, edition of the “Game Day with Kevin Modesti” newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.

    Good morning. L.A.-area baseball fans have experienced a rare pleasure the past six years, getting to watch Clayton Kershaw and Shohei Ohtani pitch at the same time. Occasionally, like last night, literally at the same time.

    In other news: The Kings made a bold move on the eve of the NHL draft, acquiring long-time trade target Pierre-Luc Dubois from Winnipeg in exchange for three players and a future pick. Andrew Knoll writes about how the Kings look going into the draft tonight without a first-round pick. Lisa Dillman says the Ducks’ options with the No. 2 overall pick include trading it. Lakers draft picks Jalen Hood-Shifino and Maxwell Lewis are thinking about how they’ll fit in, while the team stayed in the running to sign Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura by making qualifying offers. U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski, preparing for his first Women’s World Cup in charge, said he likes the team’s mix of new faces (including Angel City FC’s Alyssa Thompson) and familiar names (like Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan).

    If you’re like me, you try not to miss any game pitched by Kershaw, one of the greatest Dodgers ever, or Ohtani, two of the greatest Angels ever, considering his pitching and hitting.

    Last night that required having either multiple screens or a nimble finger on the TV remote. Kershaw and the Dodgers played the Colorado Rockies in Denver at 5:40 p.m. Pacific time, and Ohtani and the Angels hosted the Chicago White Sox at 6:40 p.m.

    It was the fourth day this season that Kershaw and Ohtani pitched on the same day, but in the first three they weren’t actually on the mound at the same time. Credit the quirks of time zones, starting times and game flow. Or, if you will, credit some kind of knack the two men have, like great comedians working together, for not stepping on each other’s lines.

    Even last night, the Dodgers usually were batting while Ohtani was pitching and the Angels usually were batting when Kershaw was pitching, so they were on the mound at the same time only briefly. But the moment made watching two games at once a worthwhile chore.

    At 6:42, on Ch. 68, Kershaw faced the Rockies’ Jurickson Profar to begin the bottom of the fourth inning, while, over on Ch. 30, Ohtani faced the White Sox’s Luis Robert with two out in the top of the first. Kershaw got Profar to fly out to left field on an 0-2 curveball, at the same time as Ohtani struck out Robert on a 1-2 split-finger fastball.

    At that point Ohtani (7-3) was just beginning a signature performance that would see him hold the White Sox to one run and four hits while striking out 10 in 6⅓ innings and hit his major-league-leading 27th and 28th home runs, becoming the first player to strike out at least 10 and hit at least two homers since Cleveland’s Pedro Ramos in a 1963 game against the Angels.

    The Angels beat Chicago 4-2 to retake sole possession of second place in the American League West, five games behind first-place Texas, reaching the schedule’s midpoint with a 44-37 record.

    At the same time, Kershaw (10-4) was pitching perfect ball, not allowing a baserunner until the fifth inning or a hit before Brenton Doyle’s clean single to left with two out in the sixth. After six, Kershaw told manager Dave Roberts he was finished for the night. And turned your TV over to Ohtani.

    The Dodgers beat Colorado 5-0, remaining third in the National League West, three games behind first-place Arizona, getting back to 10 games over .500 at 44-34.

    The concurrent games last night were a reminder in another way that we should cherish having Ohtani and Kershaw in the L.A. area at the same time, this baseball take on “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

    Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws to first base to force out the Colorado Rockies’ C.J. Cron during the second inning on Tuesday night in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

    It’s not going to go on forever, or even much longer. Ohtani’s contract is up after this season (you might have heard) and he’ll be the most valuable free agent ever. Kershaw is on a one-year contract and has flirted with returning to his native Texas.

    And you worry about injury anytime either of them leaves a game abruptly, as both did last night.

    Kershaw said he asked out because he “just didn’t feel great overall” in the sixth inning, declining to get specific with reporters about what bothered him. Robert said, not quite reassuringly, “Right now, I’m not concerned.”

    Ohtani left the mound – in the middle of an inning for the first time this season – after the trainer came out to check on him. But his problem turned out to be only a cracked fingernail; he stayed in as a batter and hit his second home run.

    Assuming both make their next scheduled starts, that will create another of these Kershaw-Ohtani virtual duels, on Monday, July 3, when the Dodgers open a three-game series at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates at 7:10 p.m. while the Angels open a three-game series against the Padres in San Diego at 6:40.

    They will be what they were last night, two baseball greats deserving our undivided attention at the same time.


    Dodgers probably will go with a bullpen game in Colorado (5:40 p.m., SNLA), the last time they’ll have to do that before Julio Urias’ expected return Saturday.

    Angels are 5-0 with Jaime Barria starting on the mound as he faces the White Sox’s Lucas Giolito (6:38 p.m., BSW).

    Sparks seek their first three-game win streak this season as they open a trip at Chicago (9 a.m., NBA TV). Sparks update.

    Angel City FC, hosting San Diego, tries to get out of last place in its NWSL Challenge Cup division (7 p.m.,  CBSSN). Angel City update.

    • The NHL draft, tonight and tomorrow, will begin with Chicago taking 17-year-old center Connor Bedard (4 p.m, ESPN).


    While Connor Bedard is a lock to go No. 1 in the NHL draft, Michigan center Adam Fantilli is a heavy favorite (-700, meaning bet 700 to win 100) over Swedish center Leo Carlsson (+480, bet 100 to win 480) to be taken with the No. 2 pick, currently held by the Ducks. Those odds are from FanDuel.


    “Right this second … Shohei Ohtani: BA: .299. ERA: 2.99.” – Angels beat writer Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) tweeting in the fifth inning last night, before Ohtani finished the game with a .304 batting average and 3.02 ERA.

    1,000 WORDS

    Encore: Shohei Ohtani celebrates in the dugout – as do fans in the stands on the Angels’ Japanese Heritage Night – after hitting his second home run of the game in the seventh inning of a 4-2 victory over the White Sox last night in Anaheim. Photo is by Mark J. Terrill for AP.


    Thanks for reading. Send suggestions, comments and questions by email at [email protected] and via Twitter @KevinModesti.

    Editor’s note: Thanks for reading the “Game Day with Kevin Modesti” newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.

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