Dodgers Way Quick Hits: Kershaw’s Return, Rotation, Verdugo, Muncy

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PHOENIX, AZ - MAY 01: Starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on May 1, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - MAY 01: Starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on May 1, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Alas, the Dodgers have announced the date of Kershaw’s return to the Dodgers’ rotation. Set to start on Thursday, May 31, Clayton Kershaw will make his first major league start in a month and will hopefully be the final push for the Dodgers from mediocrity to excellence as the team approaches the midway point of the season. Kershaw said he feels totally healthy and, now that the front office agrees with his self-assessment, fans should be confident that the 30-year old ace can return to the rotation healthy, and prepared to stay healthy. His start on Thursday will be against the Phillies who currently have Aaron Nola slated to start. Nola will be a tough win for Kershaw in his first start back from the DL as the 24-year old Phillie has a 6-2 record with a 2.27 ERA in 71.1 innings pitched. Nola also has a sub 1.00 WHIP at an impressive .98.

Other notes…

  • With Kershaw returning to the order, the rotation is in a state of flux. The Dodgers hands are a bit tied at the moment because of it as Ross Stripling and Walker Buehler, who came into the season as the team’s sixth and seventh starters respectively are arguably the team’s best two starters right now. Alex Wood is also pitching very well which leaves swingman, Brock Stewart as the odd man out. Stewart is making his second start of the season on Monday and according to Dave Roberts, it is crucial for him as a poor start will likely, “send him back to the bullpen.” If Stewart pitches well on Monday, the plan remains unclear as to how the Dodgers will make room for Kershaw.

More from Dodgers Way

  • The Dodgers’ top fielding prospect, Alex Verdugo has been out of the Oklahoma City Dodgers’ lineup for the past five days after rolling his ankle in a game. The 21-year old prospect who is still expected to make an impact on the 2018 major league season, was sent down a few weeks ago after his hot start with the team began to look more like a memory than a reality. Verdugo, who is now dealing with an injury, is available to DH and pinch hit but is still not well enough to play outfield. Until he is in good health, fans should not expect to see him any time soon.
  • Max Muncy continued to be one of the Dodgers most productive offensive players on Sunday against the Padres when he hit a two-run home run to put the Dodgers up 4-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning. Muncy has torn up opposing pitching with runners on base where he has hit .312 with a base occupied. With runners in scoring position, Muncy has hit .350 to this point in the season. The 27-year old infielder has been used primarily in a bench role where he has played behind Justin Turner at third, Bellinger at first, and as an often used pinch hitter. Muncy’s hot bat, however, is forcing him into an everyday role and Dave Roberts and the front office plan to do this by moving him to second base. While he has not played second in the majors or minors this year, Muncy was used as a second baseman quite often last year with the A’s organization and is comfortable and excited for the move.

Next: Dodgers: Fields Settling in as the Primary Eighth Inning Reliever

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