The Los Angeles Dodgers need their guy back. Despite building distance with a four-game lead in the National League West, the perennial powerhouse has been sporting a chink in its armor for a while. LA just does not have enough pitching depth.
Well that is changing very soon, as manager Dave Roberts revealed that Clayton Kershaw is “very likely” to return to the mound Thursday versus the Colorado Rockies, according to Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times. This comes after a Sunday bullpen session.
It comes as no surprise that the Dodgers would want to throw out the beloved lefty against the worst the NL has to offer. Coincidentally, Kershaw's last start before going on the injured list with a shoulder issue was a six-inning, one-hit gem against the Rockies on June 27. Why not just pick up where he left off.
A neutral fan who does not have their eyes fixed on LA might just assume it has been business as usual for Roberts' club. That is not the case, however. Injuries have ravaged the pitching staff even more than usual, resulting in an uninspiring rotation and a team ERA that ranks 18th in baseball. Enter Clayton Kershaw.
There is hope that proven commodities like Julio Urias and Tony Gonsolin can turn things around, but Roberts and company will not find a bigger pillar of consistency than the 10-time All-Star. Kershaw, with a 2.55 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 16 starts, was firmly in contention for his fourth Cy Young before tending to his injury.
If he can reclaim that top form upon coming back, then the Dodgers have an excellent chance at holding off the San Francisco Giants and clinching their 10th divisional title in 11 years. Dodgers Stadium should be overflowing with excitement when the franchise great returns this week.