After a few warmup pitches, Kershaw signaled to the dugout and was yanked from the game, leaving Phil Bickford to fend for himself with a 4-2 lead and five offensive half-innings for the Giants still yet to be played.
While no timing for an injury is ideal, losing Kershaw two days after a relatively inactive trade deadline on the starting pitching front would be an oppressive blow. The Dodgers dealt for Joey Gallo (who made his debut in blue on Thursday), but traded Mitch White off the roster and to Toronto, preparing to welcome back Dustin May in the near-term and Walker Buehler eventually.
Losing Kershaw on the heels of May’s promotion doesn’t give the Dodgers a boost. Instead, it makes the Tommy John returnee’s production all the more essential, even though no one has any idea how much he has to give.
A quick look at Kershaw’s errant final warmup pitch, and the peek to the dugout that followed, made it clear something was bothering him. Lip readers, rejoice! Kershaw fairly clearly says, “It’s my back” before departing.
Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw exits start vs Giants with injury
This would mark the second injury-related absence of Kershaw’s 2022 season, if he does end up on the shelf. Earlier in the season, he hit the IL with a lower back/SI joint injury as well, following weeks of furious debate about how pulling him midway through a perfect game bid would ultimately preserve him for the season.
Fallacy of the predetermined outcome, indeed. History is history, and since that moment in time, Kershaw’s barking back appears to have flared up twice.
The 71-33 Dodgers are in a fantastic position, well ahead of the pace of the San Diego Padres and with plenty of cushion to weather their trade deadline splashes. However, gaining May and losing Kershaw at the same time nets out to the status quo instead of a significant boost. This could potentially be burdensome for the Dodgers down the stretch, and might cause them to reevaluate Walker Buehler’s rumored bullpen return, which was also floated earlier in the week.
Anyone else glad the Dodgers gave a hat tip to history and allowed Kershaw to start the All-Star Game a few weeks back?