Besides the Dodgers cruising past the Cardinals in the second game of a four-game set on Tuesday evening, the next biggest story was the rehab start for Clayton Kershaw with the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers.
Kershaw started the game against former Dodger affiliate Albuquerque, lasting four full innings while surrendering two earned runs on four hits and no walks. One of those runs came on a long ball by Isotopes’ catcher Brian Serven in the second inning. Kershaw threw 49 total pitches and struck out three batters.
The big news, though, is skipper Dave Roberts announcing that Kershaw will be joining the big-league rotation sometime next week. Reports indicated that Kersh felt good on the morning after his outing, prompting Roberts to tell reporters he expects his former ace to throw around four innings or 60 pitches when he next takes the hill.
With 23 games still remaining on the regular season schedule, it’s conceivable that Kershaw could garner a handful of starts before the beginning of the playoffs, building his arm strength back up in the process. Before his rehab outing, there was some speculation Kershaw might contribute as a reliever.
In a perfect world, Kershaw would slot into the fifth rotation spot behind Max Scherzer, Walker Buehler, Julio Urias and David Price or Tony Gonsolin. However, based on Buehler’s last outing, it remains to be seen if the club will provide him with a short vacation before the playoffs begin.
Currently, Buehler is the only member of the rotation who has not spent any time on the injured list this year. Seeing him pitch on Sunday against the Giants, some pundits feel that Buehler may be experiencing tiredness, as he has thrown 179 full innings this season, which is about three frames shy of his career-high 182-1/3 back in 2019.
Nevertheless, as the Dodgers are amidst a heated division race, coupled with the fact that Buehler is one of the primary contenders for the NL Cy Young, it might be doubtful he gets any kind of extended rest.
Before his injury, Kershaw made 18 starts for the Dodgers in what was a bit of a roller-coaster ride. His overall ERA for the year is 3.39, but there was a stretch of more than 32 innings from mid-April to early May when he tallied a 1.97 mark.
In other news, Roberts also told reporters that Gonsolin will pitch the bulk of Thursday’s innings, pushing Urias’ next start back to Friday.
In the meantime, the Dodgers look to stay on pace with the Giants as they continue their road series in St. Louis.
First pitch is slated for 4:45 p.m. Pacific.