The Los Angeles Dodgers believed they’d assembled an historically great rotation this offseason prior to breaking camp.
If not for their stunning trade deadline acquisition of Max Scherzer, they wouldn’t even have a trusted No. 2 starter in mid-August.
Baseball’s a funny game sometimes — well, not “laugh out loud” funny, but funny in the way that allows the Dodgers’ chief rivals, the “rebuilding” San Francisco Giants, to be leading the NL West at a stunning pace.
The Dodgers haven’t exactly been slouches, but they’ve been unable to approach and outpace the Giants, guided by a sterling starting rotation with very few interruptions. In contrast, the Dodgers have been forced to use every 40-man reliever under the sun to soak up innings, and we don’t have much of a timeline on when things will get easier.
Trevor Bauer has rightly been banished from active participation in Major League Baseball, but the Dodgers should still theoretically get both Julio Urias and their long-time ace Clayton Kershaw back before the end of the campaign.
Only problem? Though Kershaw has been stretching out for several days now, we still have no real idea if he’s getting better or staying stagnant.
Is Dodgers star Clayton Kershaw progressing towards returning?
The sum total of Kershaw updates we’ve been given prior to these three consecutive days of catch haven’t amounted to much of an estimate.
The lefty first hit the shelf in early July with elbow inflammation, and the initial prognosis involved 10 days or so of rest. Unfortunately, things spiraled — as they often do when the elbow is involved — and Kershaw eventually hit the 60-Day IL to clear up a few roster spots for more viable arms.
As recently as one week ago, he was reportedly still feeling pain, but not enough to prevent the beginning stages of a throwing program this week.
Very beginning stages, that is. Kershaw’s thrown the baseball three straight days, with no real updates about his bounce back (other than the fact that three days of catch without a rest day can’t be bad).
Beyond that, though? Not much clarity. Urias has been tossing sim games off the mound while working back from his lower half issue, but Kershaw has still been taking things slow.
Dave Roberts’ “best-case scenario” still involves a few September starts before a playoff run, meaning expectations have certainly been tempered after we leaned on the wildly optimistic 10-day window back before the All-Star Break.
Whenever he returns, Kershaw will be a big help; in 18 starts this season, he’s posted a 3.39 ERA with 127 Ks in 106.1 innings pitched.
Sooner the better, but we’re not going to be picky as long as the end result is a fully-confident lefty ace returning to his old stomping grounds.