The Dodgers find themselves in a difficult spot this morning, as they announced that Best Pitcher On Planet Earth Clayton Kershaw would have to go on the Disabled List with a bulging disc in his back. Kershaw also reportedly received an epidural of cortisone to combat his discomfort. Manager Dave Roberts has suggested that his superstar could be out well past the All Star Break, according to Andy McCullough.
Kershaw has, yet again, been otherworldly in 2016, winning 11 of his 16 starts, with a 1.79 ERA and an even more ridiculous 1.68 FIP. He has 145 strikeouts in 121 innings, with only nine walks and six homers allowed.
Losing Clayton Kershaw at any time would be a blow to the Dodgers, but it’s especially difficult now with Alex Wood, Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Frankie Montas and Brett Anderson all on the disabled list. The rotation, which was legitimately 8-9 pitchers deep on opening day, is down to Scott Kazmir, Kenta Maeda, and Julio Urias at the moment.
It’s not clear who else will fill out the rest of the spots going forward. Brock Stewart had his MLB debut yesterday and will get at least another start, and Nick Tepesch had an awful spot start a week ago. Mike Bolsinger is also a potential option, but given his 6.83 ERA in six starts this year, the Dodgers may understandably not trust him. As of right now, no one is scheduled to start tomorrow’s game.
The rumor mill has the Dodgers looking at the trade market for stopgap solutions. Erasmo Ramirez of the Tampa Bay Rays has been floated as one option in particular, as he’s currently in the Rays’ bullpen but has had success as a starter as recently as last year. Bud Norris, who has a 2.15 ERA in his five starts since rejoining Atlanta’s starting rotation, could also come up.
Regardless of who they get, this is a massive blow to the star-laden club who was expected to compete with the Giants for the NL West crown. Already six games back and just six games over .500, Los Angeles will need to pick up the pace, and start getting their players healthy, if they’re going to fend off the Marlins, Mets, Cardinals, and Pirates for one of the NL Wild Card spots.