Dodgers Way Quick Hits: Kershaw Close to Return, Hill, Stripling, Toles
By Jacob Rudner
On Friday, May 25, Dave Roberts told media members that ace, Clayton Kershaw, would pitch in a simulated game on Saturday, May 26, in which he will be allowed to throw four innings or 60 pitches. Kershaw’s long-awaited return is coming closer and closer each day and his progress through an injury that is typically fairly serious has been remarkably fast. However, Kershaw’s return to the Dodger lineup may not be as crucial as one might guess. Over the last three seasons- 2016,2017, and 2018- the Dodgers have played a total of 374 games. Of those 374 games, Kershaw has been on the DL for 30 percent of them, 114 matches. With Kershaw on the shelf, the Dodgers have a record of 70-44, a .614 win percentage. With Kershaw on the active roster, in 260 games, the Dodgers are 148-112, a .569 win percentage. That 41 point discrepancy is not to say Kershaw is unnecessary as he is certainly a key cog on this roster. But, it may just go to show you that time is in Kershaw’s favor as the team can hold their own without the superstar in uniform.
- Like Kershaw, Rich Hill is well ahead of schedule and will also participate in a simulated game directly following Kershaw’s. Hill was also given 4 innings or 60 pitches and he will do so with a piece of tape on his left middle finger. Hill’s blister problem has plagued him for the better part of three years now and he is planning on asking the league office for permission to permanently wear this protective piece of tape during games. Permission to do this would require the league to break a rule that states no pitcher can have a foreign substance on their hands while pitching but Hill plans to inquire about this anyway.
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- Ross Stripling continues to be arguably the teams best pitcher and has put that on display in his past two outings. On Friday, May 25, Stripling pitched a gem against the Padres as he went 6.2 innings and gave up six hits, one unearned run, and racked up a career-high 10 punchouts. Stripling has pitched in just 41.1 innings this year but he has already struck out 50 batters against just nine walks. As a result of Friday’s, spectacular showing, Stripling’s ERA on the season dropped to a phenomenal 1.74, good for third in the majors among pitchers who have thrown at least 40 innings. If Stripling can continue on this pace, the Dodgers have a legitimate starter in the 28-year old righty.
- In other injury news, outfielder and fan favorite, Andrew Toles, has been rehabbing at extended spring training for roughly a week now. According to general manager, Farhan Zaidi, Toles could spend anywhere between a week to ten days in Arizona before getting back into any game action. The young left fielder will look to continue his success from earlier this season upon his return sometime next week.
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