The Los Angeles Dodgers have provided Clayton Kershaw with at least one day of extra rest before every start since returning from the 15-day injured list, and that strategy is going to continue as the 2023 regular season winds to a close.
Kershaw’s next start is Saturday, in the third game of a series with the San Francisco Giants. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the longtime ace then will start again against the Giants, on Saturday, September 30, at Oracle Park, for his final outing before the postseason.
Kershaw last pitched September 16, an outing that was twice pushed back after Kershaw struggled with command and had the lowest fastball velocity of his career.
The Dodgers originally had Kershaw lined up to start in the San Diego Padres series, then pushed him to the first game with the Seattle Mariners before settling on the following day at T-Mobile Park.
At the time, Roberts explained it did not stem from health concerns but rather the Dodgers best lining up Kershaw and their starting rotation over the final weeks of the regular season.
Kershaw was among the best pitchers during the first half of the year but landed on the injured list just before the All-Star break due to left shoulder inflammation. He anticipated a quick return but that was delayed when Dr. Neal ElAttrache recommended more rest upon an MRI being conducted.
Kershaw and the Dodgers otherwise have not provided any specifics as to what the examination of his ailing shoulder revealed. Roberts did acknowledge Kershaw would not get back to 100% health this season, but nevertheless remains capable of continuing to pitch.
Any concern or impact of the seemingly-balky shoulder has regularly been brushed aside from Kershaw. He had somewhat of a bounce-back performance against the Mariners, though only pitched four innings and still did not get his fastball velocity above 90 mph.
Kershaw has yet to complete more than five innings in any of his six starts since coming off the IL.
When is Clayton Kershaw starting in the NLDS?
The Dodgers expect to take an unorthodox approach with their pitching plans for the postseason, and to this point have only declared Bobby Miller is starting Game 1 or 2 of the National League Division Series.
When Roberts reiterated that stance this week, he was asked if Kershaw is the other half to the Dodgers’ first two postseason games.
“Potentially,” Roberts answered.
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