Already trailing the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers are dealing with injury concern that required them to scratch Clayton Kershaw from his scheduled start in Game 2 and instead hand the ball to Tony Gonsolin.
Kershaw deemed himself unable to start due to back spasms that Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said surfaced after a bullpen session over the weekend. Kershaw continued to improve but not to the point where he felt comfortable taking the mound Tuesday.
“Our goal was to have him start tonight,” Roberts said. “It just never got to the point where we got comfortable.”
Kershaw was seen completing dry work in the bullpen at Globe Life Field and playing long toss hours before Game 2. Also encouraging for the Dodgers is Roberts said Kershaw’s latest back trouble is not related to the injury that prevented him from starting Opening Day and delayed his 2020 debut by one month.
Roberts nonetheless ruled out a start Wednesday but any scenario beyond that is in play. “I honestly don’t know what game we plan on starting him, but to leave that option open to Clayton for when he feels as good as he can, makes the most sense for all of us,” Roberts said.
“Today, just woke up and felt it wasn’t quite where he wants it to be, where we want it to be. … It got better every day. Clayton is the greatest competitor I’ve ever been around, so to give him the opportunity to start today was our goal.”
Gonsolin figured to make an NLCS start anyhow, but being pushed up by at least one game complicates pitching matters for the Dodgers. They already were a bit handicapped by Walker Buehler dealing with two blisters — though Roberts felt the right-hander came out of his outing in good health.
Shortly after Roberts spoke with media, the Dodgers announced Julio Urias will start Game 3 on Wednesday.
May prepared for any scenario
Although Dustin May cemented himself in the Dodgers starting rotation during the regular season, his playoff appearances thus far have primarily been out of the bullpen. May’s lone start lasted only one inning in what was a bullpen game for the Dodgers.
The young right-hander reiterated Tuesday he is accepting of any role the Dodgers lay out and he simply wants to help make an impact. Roberts did not state whether Kershaw’s back spasms will impact how the Dodgers plan to use Urias or May moving forward.
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