The Los Angeles Dodgers have not only managed to once again compete for a division title and the top spot in the National League, but they’ve managed to do so without the services of Clayton Kershaw for a good chunk of the season. Inflammation in his left arm has shut him down.
Kershaw might not have been contending for the Cy Young award, as he did at his peak, but every metric you can use shows that he is an above-average starter, and having his experienced arm for the postseason push will make the Dodgers a tougher out than if they have to stitch a rotation together.
While Kershaw hasn’t pitched in months, the latest buzz surrounding the future Hall of Famer is strongly hinting that he is ready to rejoin the team soon, assuming everything goes as planned without too much friction.
According to Jorge Castillo of the LA Times, Kershaw will begin a rehab assignment with the Triple-A team in Oklahoma City on Tuesday. Kershaw, who can come off of the 60-day IL at any time considering he has spent more than 60 days on that list, is expected to pitch around three innings.
Clayton Kershaw is on his way back to the Dodgers.
Kershaw went 9-7 with a 3.39 ERA in 18 games before his injury. While that is his highest ERA since his rookie season, that speaks more to how historically dominant he has been. his 117 ERA+ shows that even if he isn’t going to be prime Kershaw, he’s still a high-level starter in this league.
With the Walker Buehler and Max Scherzer tandem doing some real damage and Julio Urias leading the NL in wins with 16 thanks to a 3.11 ERA, those four would make for an almost unbeatable playoff rotation. Kershaw just needs to make sure that his velocity can get back to the levels he showcased earlier in the season.
The San Francisco Giants are not going to go away, as their onslaught of talented starters, clutch hitters, and perfect role players make for quite the consistent baseball team. Perhaps adding an old nemesis back into the rotation in Kershaw could give them a bit of a scare when he returns.
When most MLB teams lose a future Cooperstown inductee like Kershaw and a player of Trevor Bauer’s caliber due to sexual assault allegations in one season, that sinks them. The Dodgers, however, have managed to soldier on through that storm, and they might be on the verge of getting No. 22 back into the fold.