Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts named Clayton Kershaw his starter for Friday’s series opener against the San Diego Padres. When Kershaw steps foot on the mound at Petco Park it will be his first Major League start since July 23.
He was removed after just two innings that afternoon due to lower back tightness and placed on the 10-day disabled list the following day. Kershaw made a relatively quick recovery and was cleared to resume throwing off flat ground early on.
The Dodgers were cautious with how their ace progressed through the various stages of his rehab process, which culminated last Saturday with a start for Triple-A Oklahoma City. Kershaw recorded eight strikeouts over five innings and said he was pleased with the outing.
A return Friday amounts to just under six weeks missed for Kershaw. He spent 10 weeks on the disabled list last season while recovering from a mild herniated disc.
In similar fashion to 2016, the Dodgers have largely surged without their ace. Even if with back-to-back losses, which resulted in their first series loss since early June, the Dodgers are 24-7 since losing the three-time Cy Young Award winner. That includes his injury-shortened start.
Kershaw is 2-0 with a 1.26 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, and 17 strikeouts in 14.1 innings across two starts against the Padres this season. He allowed just one run, and recorded nine strikeouts but issued a season-high four walks over 7.1 innings in a start at Petco Park.
He grew agitated with home-plate umpire Toby Basner’s strike zone and following the win admitted to allowing his emotions to boil over.