If the Dodgers are to make good on my 50 Walk Challenge, there won't be a better chance to pad those totals than tonight against the Nationals. Starting for the Nationals is Daniel Cabrera, who takes wildness to a new level. In his last start, Thursday against St. Louis, Cabrera not only walked five batters, but threw four wild pitches.
Since he entered the league in 2004, Cabrera has more walks (495) than any other pitcher in baseball. In addition, he is near the top of the list in walks per nine as well (5.15). The only starters ahead of him on the list -- Al Leiter, Victor Zambrano, and Dewon Brazelton -- are all out of baseball.
Lest we think Cabrera is a pushover, Chico Harlan of The Washington Post tells us he's holding his own:
Nowadays, Cabrera's starts come with a painful predictability, so long as you're not trying to guess where his next pitch will go. Always, he walks a few too many. Always, he throws at least a few pitches that crash-land about a dozen feet short of the catcher's mitt. Often, he falls behind hitters and pays for it. But there's another element to Cabrera's outings, which excuses Washington's willingness to keep using the right-hander every fifth day: Despite his shortcomings -- despite himself -- Cabrera is getting by.
The full Daniel Cabrera experience blends spastic ineptitude with overriding decency.
Opposing Mr. Cabrera will be Clayton Kershaw, who, despite his 0-0 record, has been near unbeatable at home. Wearing the home whites, Kershaw has allowed one run and eight baserunners in 14 innings, all while striking out 16 batters.
Not only do the Dodgers hold the major league record (shared with the 1911 Tigers) for most consecutive home wins to start a season with 12, but they also have won nine straight home games against Washington. Their last loss to the Nationals at home was May 4, 2005.
In addition, if the Dodgers win tonight, they would tie the 1993 club for the Los Angeles Dodger record with their 13th straight home win in general (at any point in the season).
The Kardashian sisters and their mom are throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. I hope the stadium and dugouts are fully stocked with Purell.
Be sure to get your guesses in for "Just A Bit Outside" (today in English!) before the 7:10pm start.