Los Angeles: Clayton Kershaw was placed on a 10-day injury list on Saturday, a formality after the left-hander’s injury is expected to end his 2021 season.
Manager Dave Roberts said the injury had hardly taken him by surprise.
“I think we all knew the possibility that it could reach this point,” Roberts said. “He was determined to do everything in his power to be a part of it to see this thing through this year. Unfortunately, it gave way to (Friday) night.”
In his final start of 2021, Kershaw faced 10 at-bats against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday and could not complete the second innings before succumbing to pain in his left elbow/arm area.
The 33-year-old will be tested on Monday to ascertain the severity of the injury. The Dodgers said in July that an examination of Kershaw’s elbow revealed no structural damage. A free agent at the end of the post season, Kershaw’s future in Los Angeles—if not his career in baseball—is in doubt.
Now comes the time to put together a roster without a pitcher at the front office of Roberts and the Dodgers, who have started their first or second playoff game every year since 2013.
Walker Buehler will open the Dodgers’ regular season finale on Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers on four days off. Max Scherzer is set to start a potential wild-card game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday.
Should the Dodgers move on to play in a best-of-five National League Division Series, Julio Uriás would start a game.
“You can deploy Julio with the most sense to win the most possible games,” Roberts said. “It is clear right now that he is going to start a playoff game for us. (Kershav’s injury) adds more clarity.”
Depending on the Dodgers’ opponent’s part, Roberts said, the Dodgers’ fifth starter, Tony Gonsolin, could also be in line for a post-season start in Kershaw’s absence.
“He would be pitching leveraged innings,” Roberts said of Gonsolin. “Whether it is in one start or in multiples we have not decided.”
Kershaw will end the 2021 season 10-8 with an average of 3.55 earned. He played 121–2/3 innings in 22 starts, dismissing 144 batsmen. He would have missed 59 games – more than a third of the season – due to a forearm injury.
It was questionable whether Kershaw would be able to recover some remnants of his peak form as the Dodgers attempted to defend their World Series title. After returning from the injured list in four September starts, Kershaw played 15–1/3 innings, allowing nine runs (eight earned) in four starts. The Dodgers won three out of four games.
It was undeniable that Kershaw was hoping for a chance to win another championship.
“The biggest thing was that I wanted to be a part of this team going through October,” he said after Friday’s win over the Milwaukee Brewers. “This team is special. … You saw what this team is capable of and I know it. I know we are going to do something special this year and I wanted to be a part of it.
Roberts said on Saturday he was “saddened” by Kershaw’s season ending.
“Hopefully we never had to reach this point,” said the manager. “Of course you want to be very considerate and sensitive to Clayton and make sure in the same breath that we stay focused on moving forward.”
Mitch White was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City to fill Kershaw’s roster spot. The 26-year-old right-hander is 1-3 with the Dodgers this season with a 3.74 ERA in 20 matches. This is his 10th separate stint in the Major in 2021. …Chris Taylor was selected as the winner of the Dodgers’ annual Roy Campanella Award, given to “the Dodgers player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher.” … Taylor Being named to his first All-Star team saw time in 2021 at six positions. He entered Saturday’s game with a batting average of .254, 20 home runs and 73 RBI.
Dodgers (RHP Walker Buehler, 15-4, 2.49 ERA) vs. Milwaukee (TBA), Sunday, 12:10 PM, Sportsnet LA, TBS, 570 AM