The Los Angeles Dodgers have leaned more heavily on Clayton Kershaw this season than year’s past, as the starting rotation no longer features a bonafide second ace and has been ravaged by injury.
However, on Sunday Kershaw proved to be human as he was knocked around a bit by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Their damage came in a four-run fourth inning that proved to be enough in a 4-3 victory that handed the Dodgers a third consecutive loss.
More evidence of Kershaw not being his sharpest is the four strikeouts he finished with over six innings. The outing tied with his June 4 start against the Atlanta Braves for shortest this season.
While Kershaw has been the stalwart of the Dodgers’ rotation, he too is less than 100 percent and received treatment on his back, according to ESPN’s Doug Padilla:
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed Monday morning that Clayton Kershaw was receiving treatment for minor back discomfort but insisted the issue did not affect his pitcher’s six-inning start Sunday against the Pirates.
Roberts added the discomfort has been somewhat of an ongoing issue but he expects Kershaw to make his next start:
Roberts called Kershaw’s lower-back discomfort an “off-and-on issue” but sounded far from concerned about it, saying Kershaw “absolutely” would make his next scheduled start, expected to be at home Friday against the Colorado Rockies.
Sunday’s loss was just the second of the season for Kershaw, and only the second time in 16 starts Los Angeles has dropped a game started by their ace. Assuming he’s able to make his scheduled start on Friday, Kershaw is then slated to face the Baltimore Orioles before the All-Star break.