The Los Angeles Dodgers have been playing well lately. Currently, they sit atop the NL West, two games ahead of the San Francisco Giants. They’re in first place despite the fact that their best pitcher has been injured for two months. In the near future however, the Dodgers could be getting back their ace.
Clayton Kershaw has missed the last couple of months due to a herniated disk in his back. He hasn’t pitched since June 26th. Fortunately for the Dodgers, they’ve been able to stay afloat without Kershaw. It’s not easy to survive without your ace, but LA has found a way to do it.
Kershaw threw a bullpen session on Saturday. Afterwards, he told reporters that he feels “100 percent.” This is definitely a positive sign. Kershaw’s back has been a major problem since June. He was originally placed on the 15-day disabled list but was not ready to return once the time was up. He was named to the NL All-Star team but missed the game because of his injury. Now that Kershaw feels better however, there’s a good chance he returns very soon. He’s eligible to come off the disabled list tomorrow. It’s unlikely that he’s activated then, buy he’s definitely getting closer to a return.
Getting Kershaw back for the last month of the season would be huge. Before the injury, he was having another dominant year. In 16 starts, he’s 11-2 with a 1.79 ERA and 0.73 WHIP. He also has 145 strikeouts in 121 innings pitched. Had the back injury not sidelined him for two months, Kershaw would probably be in line to win the NL Cy Young Award once again. It’s an award that he’s won three times in his career.
The value of Kershaw cannot be understated. He’s been arguably the best pitcher in baseball over the last five years. He’s been named to the NL All-Star team each of the last six seasons. In 2014 he won the NL MVP Award in addition to the NL Cy Young Award. That season, he went 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA. Pitchers rarely ever win MVP, but Kershaw was dominant that season and so important to the Dodgers’ success that he was the clear choice.
The Dodgers are in a tight race with the Giants in the NL West right now. As well as they’ve been playing as of late, the team could really use Kershaw. He’s the guy that can transform them from a good team into a great team. Kershaw is so good that he can have that kind of impact on a team. If the Dodgers are going to reach the postseason and make a serious World Series run, they’re going to need Clayton Kershaw.