Among the many things Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw has going for him is his durability. The three-time Cy Young winner has been on the disabled list exactly once in his career, briefly at the start of the 2014 season, and had started at least 30 games in six of his eight MLB seasons entering this one. Even this year, when his fellow Dodgers pitchers were dropping like flies, Kershaw has stayed upright to produce his usual eye-popping numbers.
At least until Wednesday, when he will leave his team’s road trip in Milwaukee and fly back to Los Angeles for tests on his ailing back. It’s discomfort that ramped up a bit Monday after a rare loss to the Pirates on Sunday.
The team hopes Kershaw can make his next scheduled start Friday at home against the Rockies, but …
“He’s not any better,” Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts said Tuesday, per MLB.com‘s Ken Gurnick. “So we decided to fly him back [Wednesday]. Not pitching here in Milwaukee, as we look at the Friday start, to get him a couple days back home. Consult with the docs and see where to go from there. We’re still hopeful for Friday. We want to get him in the doctors’ hands, and they do what they can to figure out what’s going on. It’s been a few weeks that it started barking a little bit. Right now, we want to get some answers.”
The Dodgers have seen Brett Anderson, Mike Bolsinger, Frankie Montas and Alex Wood, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy either go down with injuries or continue rehabbing past injuries this year, and the situation is so dire that they plan to call up right-hander Brock Stewart from Class AAA Oklahoma City to make his major league debut Wednesday night against the Brewers. As Gurnick notes, Stewart opened the season at Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga, and Roberts has never seen him pitch. Carlos Frias (15 career starts) likely would get the call-up if Kershaw can’t go Friday.
As compiled by ESPN’s Doug Padilla, Kershaw was well on his way to another Cy Young at 11-2 with an NL-best 1.79 ERA. He leads the NL in innings, strikeouts, WHIP and walks per nine innings, and his 16.11 strikeout-to-walk ratio would shatter the major league record. The Dodgers are 14-2 when Kershaw starts this season but 28-34 when he doesn’t. Life without him would be brutal for Los Angeles.
“We’re not thinking about that,” Roberts told Padilla.