All the Los Angeles Dodgers have done since Clayton Kershaw’s last start is go 18-10 to cut the San Francisco Giants’ lead in the National League West to two games. Now in the fifth week of Kershaw’s absence, the Dodgers bolstered their starting rotation by acquiring Rich Hill from the Oakland Athletics.
Hill himself is on the 15-day disabled list, though only with a nagging blister issue that isn’t much cause for concern. Hill is a strong addition from what was a relatively weak market of available starting pitchers.
However, even with the 36-year-old southpaw in the fold, the Dodgers’ postseason odds are heavily dependent on Kershaw’s return. He was advancing ahead of schedule but was forced to halt the recovery process after throwing a four-inning simulated game July 16.
“He’s just doing the core and back strengthening, hasn’t picked up a baseball yet,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts over the weekend. His comments may as well have been a playback of a recorded update from the past two weeks.
However, there may soon be a noteworthy progress. “I think it (resuming baseball activities) is on the horizon,” Roberts added. “I just don’t know how close. Obviously, the sooner the better. But with Clayton, we don’t need to worry about the effort and focus. When it happens, we’ll find out. There is no timeline for us.”
Kershaw nor the Dodgers have publicly released a timetable for Kershaw’s return. Both parties have continued to express optimism Kershaw will return this season. The three-time Cy Young Award did admit to shifting his focus after suffering the setback last month.