The Los Angeles Dodgers announced today that next weekend’s road series against the Miami Marlins will feature Clayton Kershaw returning to the mound, according to Alanna Rizzo of SportsNet LA.
— Alanna Rizzo (@alannarizzo) September 4, 2016
Clayton Kershaw Returning for Los Angeles Dodgers
Kershaw, who hasn’t pitched since leaving a game early on June 26, was at risk of having season ending surgery due to a herniated disc in his back. The Dodgers took this with caution and eventually placed Kershaw on the 60-day disabled, after he experienced a setback in his recovery in late July, leaving the date for his return in limbo.
Kershaw pitched a strong three innings for Class A Rancho Cucamonga this past Saturday night, in which he only allowed one hit, and reported after the game that he didn’t experience any pain or discomfort.
The Dodgers, who ironically have played like he never left the team, will look forward to Kershaw’s to return. The Dodgers have sent 15 different starting pitchers to the mound in the 2016 season, including Jose De Leon, who made his MLB debut today. The only other teams that have sent that many pitchers to the mound, are the Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, and the San Diego Padres, who are each at the bottom of their division standings.
Clayton Kershaw Returning at Critical Time
The timing of Clayton Kershaw returning couldn’t be any better for the Dodgers than now. Entering Sunday with a two-game lead in the NL West over the San Francisco Giants, the Dodgers will face the Giants six more times, along with one more team that is at .500, the Miami Marlins.
If Kershaw is indeed fully healed and doesn’t re-injure, the Dodgers will have a healthy ace that has pitched two months worth of starts less than other teams’ aces, giving them a slight edge over other teams in the playoffs.
As there are benefits, there are potential risks. The major risk is if Kershaw isn’t as fully healed as the team believes he is, and re-injures himself. With the commitment that the Dodgers have to Kershaw’s future, that can have long term implications for the team. More short term, a Kershaw relapse can possibly throw the Dodgers out of the rhythm they’ve already have been in without him. Regardless, with where the Dodgers are in the race for the NL West, these are risks the Dodgers can afford and have no choice but to take.