The Dodgers will get one of the best pitchers in baseball back today as Clayton Kershaw will be activated off the disabled list. Kershaw will be tested from the get-go as the Phillies have been one of the best teams in the National League this season.
Clayton Kershaw will return for the Dodgers and with him, he will bring his 1-4 record with a 2.86 ERA. While that ERA is pretty high for Kershaw’s standards, it is a number that will surely drop as long as Clayton is fully recovered from his biceps tendonitis. Perhaps the aspect of Kershaw’s game that the Dodgers missed the most was his ability to eat innings.
When Kershaw is on the mound it’s almost automatic that he is going to go at least six innings and most of the time he will complete seven innings. Ross Stripling and Kenta Maeda have done an excellent job of eating innings while Kershaw was on the DL but outside of those two, the other starting pitchers like Alex Wood and Brock Stewart have struggled to give the Dodgers many innings. When Rich Hill was active he also failed to log many innings for the Dodgers.
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While Clayton will likely put the weight of the world on his shoulders in order to live up to his lofty expectations, really all Clayton needs to do is consistently pitch deep into games for the Dodgers. The Dodgers rotation has excelled this season even with four members of the opening day rotation missing significant time. Entering today’s game the Dodgers rotation has put up a 3.31 ERA which ranks them fourth in the majors in ERA. The Dodgers rotation also ranks fourth in WHIP and they are ranked fifth in strikeouts. Even without Clayton Kershaw the Dodgers rotation has held itself together and been the strength of the team so far this season.
Alex Wood had a rough outing last weekend against the Padres but he has been solid otherwise averaging 8 K/9IP and allowing only 1 BB/9IP. Ross Stripling has been pitching better than anyone since he was moved into the rotation and prior to his injury, Kenta Maeda was starting to put together some dominant outings. That doesn’t even account for Walker Buehler the young fireballer who seems to get better with each start.
All of a sudden the Dodgers’ rotation looks to be one of the best in the league with Kershaw, Buehler, Stripling, Wood, and Kenta Maeda. With the bullpen rounding into form and the offense delivering runs on a more consistent basis, the Dodgers look like a team that is going to go on another epic win streak. While the Dodgers will welcome future hall of famer Clayton Kershaw back today, they can do so knowing they don’t need Kershaw to be Superman to make a run at a postseason spot.