The Los Angeles Dodgers are looking to avoid losing the first two games of the NLCS to the Atlanta Braves, but they will have to rely on someone other than Clayton Kershaw to help them do that.
On Tuesday, the Dodgers announced that Kershaw has been scratched from his scheduled Game 2 start due to back spasms. Right-hander Tony Gonsolin will take the mound in Kershaw’s place.
Kershaw has pitched well for the Dodgers this season, so the injury is obviously a concern. He had a 2.16 ERA and a 7.75 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 10 regular season starts and has also been solid in the playoffs. Kershaw picked up wins in both of his postseason starts, allowing just three earned runs and nine hits in 14 total innings. He struck out 19 batters of those two starts.
Even if Kershaw winds up being fine, skipping him in the rotation could be problematic for the Dodgers. Due to this year’s altered schedule, the NLCS could wind up being seven games in seven days. Walker Buehler lasted just four innings in Game 1 due to a nasty blister on his pitching hand, so the Dodgers were counting on Kershaw for innings in Game 2.
Kershaw also dealt with a back injury over the summer, though the Dodgers downplayed the severity.
Clayton Kershaw was placed on the injured list just hours before the Los Angeles Dodgers got their 2020 season underway, but manager Dave Roberts does not seem all that concerned.
After the Dodgers announced on Thursday that Kershaw was placed on the 10-day injured list with back stiffness, Roberts told reporters the ailment is “minimal.” He indicated he does not expect Kershaw to be out long.
Even if the injury is minor, it is still a concern given Kershaw’s recent history. The left-hander has spent time on the injured list in each of the past four seasons, including with back issues each season from 2016-2018. Last season, Kershaw missed the start of the year with shoulder trouble.
After averaging well over 200 innings pitched each year from 2011-2015, Kershaw has not topped the 200-inning mark in a season since. He did have a strong year in 2019, however, going 16-5 with a 3.03 ERA. With a shortened season and a new playoff format, the Dodgers will likely play it safe with their ace to assure he is fully healthy for the long haul.
MLB’s attempt to play a shortened season this year got off to an encouraging start based on the relatively small number of positive COVID-19 tests among its players and staff. Despite the encouraging numbers, Clayton Kershaw has a warning for his fellow players.
The Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher said on Friday that players “can’t be stupid” when it comes to putting themselves in situations that would expose them to the virus.
MLB is attempting to play a 60-game regular season, followed by a postseason. They have changed rules and expanded rosters to account for the likely need to replace players who test positive for the virus as the season progresses.
The goal is to avoid any players/staff contracting the virus, and in the cases where some do get the virus, to avoid an outbreak. The Dodgers will be one of the teams with high expectations of being able to dominate the season. Their 106-56 record last season was the best in the NL.
Major League Baseball is one of several sports leagues that are exploring ways to begin or resume their seasons amid the coronavirus outbreak, and players may have to agree to quarantine in a centralized location in order to make that happen. Like many of his peers, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw has doubts about whether that is feasible.
Kershaw told Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times that he is anxious to start the season like anyone else, but he’s uncomfortable with the idea of having to spend months away from his family to make it happen.
“Playing in spring training stadiums and quarantining for months without your family and certain things like that, I don’t think that’s doable if you’re talking about doing it for four to five months,” Kershaw said. “You just lose the product on the field because guys aren’t in their natural element. We’re all ready to take drastic measures to make this season happen, but there’s also certain things that will affect the product on the field, and that’s what you have to be careful about.”
Those thoughts are shared by many around the league. Each player has a different set of circumstances, and there are probably plenty who would have no problem with spending several months in a centralized location in Arizona. There are also players who don’t make nearly as much as Kershaw and other stars who are anxious to play baseball by any means necessary in order to collect a full season’s worth of pay — or close to it.
Mike Trout has also expressed concerns over the Arizona plan, and he has a very good reason for worrying about being away from his wife. The players will ultimately have to approve the plan, and there is no guarantee of that happening.
Major League Baseball wants to play as many games as possible when it starts play after the coronavirus pandemic has subsided. That could push the World Series back quite late in the calendar year, which might not be a popular decision.
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw told “Lunchtime with Roggin and Rodney” on AM 570 LA Sports that he thinks a World Series in late November or December would be “iffy” and could negatively impact the 2021 season.
“I think once you start getting into playing longer in the year, that starts affecting next year. I think you get a little risky the further you go in the season,” Kershaw said, via Mark Townsend of Yahoo Sports. “I think expanding it maybe a couple weeks on the back end, but if you go any further than that, you start talking about Thanksgiving and December for a World Series, that gets a little iffy, in my opinion.”
Thanksgiving has been cited as just about the latest MLB would be willing to conclude the 2020 World Series, but even that pushes Kershaw’s timeline. What we don’t know is whether other players share his view, but that’s the agreement that the league and the MLBPA reached. Ultimately, much will be dictated by when the 2020 season actually starts, if it begins at all.
Clayton Kershaw is getting the nod for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Opening Day once again, but it is far from a legacy token.
The former Cy Young winner told reporters on Monday that the decision for him to get the Opening Day start was made after close consultation with manager Dave Roberts and rising star Walker Buehler.
“We kind of all got together and I said I don’t want a charity Opening Day,” said Kershaw, per Bill Plunkett of the OC Register. “If you want me to do it, great. But if you want Walker to do it, great too. Walker was great about it. I’m thankful that I get to do it.”
The 31-year-old Kershaw (16-5 with a 3.03 ERA and 189 strikeouts) actually had very similar numbers last year to the 25-year-old Buehler (14-4 with a 3.26 ERA and 215 strikeouts). Hyun-Jin Ryu, who signed with Arizona this offseason, started for the Dodgers on Opening Day last season, but Kershaw was unavailable to start due to shoulder inflammation.
The way that his year ended obviously left a bad taste in people’s mouths, but Kershaw has earned the right to keep taking the hill on Opening Day beyond just his reputation.
Madison Bumgarner has a long and sometimes controversial history with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but that won’t stop one star from endorsing a potential move.
Pitcher Clayton Kershaw said Friday he would welcome Bumgarner to the Dodgers if the team elects to bring him in.
A lot of Bumgarner’s past issues with the Dodgers related to Yasiel Puig, who isn’t there anymore. There’s no guarantee that the two sides wind up together, mind you, but it certainly sounds like the Dodgers are interested in the idea. That said, if this union did happen, Bumgarner might have to have a chat with a different Dodger player to make sure there are no hard feelings.
Bumgarner is coming off a season in which he posted a career-worst 3.90 ERA, but he’s known as one of the best playoff pitchers of his generation. For a team like the Dodgers, that may be more than any regular season contribution.
Dodgers fans, show everyone who runs LA with this great T-shirt:
Clayton Kershaw faced the media after blowing a 3-1 lead in Game 5 of the NLDS on Wednesday night by allowing back-to-back home runs, and he did not shy away from the truth.
Kershaw, who now has a 4.41 career postseason ERA, admitted after the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 7-3 loss to the Washington Nationals in 10 innings that all the talk about his playoff struggles are true.
“It’s a terrible feeling. I had one job to do — get three outs. No excuses — just didn’t make pitches,” Kershaw said. “I’m not going to hang my head. I’m going to be here, I’m going to try to fight, try to compete. I’m not going to shy away from it; (I will) continue to do it. Everything people say is true right now about the postseason, I understand that. It’s a terrible feeling. It really is. I’m not going to hang my head.”
He can’t really hide or deny it. He gave up back-to-back home runs to blow the lead. He got the big strikeout in the 7th, but he could not have been worse in the 8th. There isn’t really anything else to say.
Clayton Kershaw has long faced criticism about his pitching in the postseason, and his outing on Wednesday night will only give fuel to his critics.
Kershaw gave some hope that he would be able to step up and close out Game 5 of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers when he struck out Adam Eaton with two outs and two on in the top of the seventh. He had escaped the jam and came through for the Dodgers to preserve a 3-1 lead … but that was until the eighth inning.
Kershaw began the eighth by allowing back-to-back home runs to Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto.
The southpaw was gutted after allowing the big blasts to tie the game 3-3.
Frustrating fans even more, Kenta Maeda then relieved Kershaw and struck out the next three batters to end the inning.
Many Dodgers fans felt southpaw Adam Kolarek would have been the better option to face lefty Eaton than Kershaw, and that Maeda would have been the better choice for the eighth. Maeda had been nearly perfect in the postseason, while Kershaw was not very sharp in a Game 2 loss and does not often pitch in this role.
Kershaw entered the game with a career 4.33 postseason ERA, which only rose after the outing. Kershaw admitted after his Dodgers lost 7-3 in 10 innings that all the narratives about his postseason struggles were true at the time.
The Washington Nationals had Clayton Kershaw’s number early in Game 2 of the NLDS. They may have had something on his pitches, too.
TBS cameras caught Nationals shortstop Trea Turner in the dugout in the sixth inning seemingly explaining how to tell what Kershaw was throwing.
The Nationals scored three runs in the first two innings, starting with Turner’s leadoff double, and definitely seemed to be on Kershaw’s curveball. This alone fails to explain Kershaw’s issues. After all, he hit two batters in those two innings after hitting just two all season. Kershaw also largely settled down after his first two innings, so it’s interesting that this video came from pretty late in the game. Still, it would provide a bit more context to his early-inning struggles.
Tipped pitches are magnified at this time of year. If that is what happened to Kershaw, an ex-teammate may be able to help him.