Dodgers Lose Flexibility With Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw seems unlikely to pitch the National League wild card game, should the Dodgers get there.

As the Dodgers open their two-game series against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night they are expected to have Clayton Kershaw on the mound, two days after he was scratched with left hip inflammation. The shift may cost the Dodgers when it comes to the playoffs.

If they get there, that is.

Pardon my discretion, but at five games out with 21 games to play the Dodgers winning the National League West seems a bit farfetched. Let's put that on the back burner for now and look at the more attainable goal, the second wild card. The Dodgers are just one game back of the Cardinals, a team they host for four games this weekend at Dodger Stadium.

But back to Kershaw for a moment. He was scheduled to start on Sunday against the Giants, then again on Friday against St. Louis. Here is the Dodgers' remaining schedule:

September/October
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
9
at SF
10
11
at Ari
12
at Ari
13
vs StL
14
vs StL
15
vs StL
16
vs StL
17
18
at Was
19
at Was
20
at Was
21
at Cin
22
at Cin
23
at Cin
24
25
at SD
26
at SD
27
at SD
28
vs Col
29
vs Col
30
vs Col
1
vs SF
2
vs SF
3
vs SF
4
5
WC
6
NLDS

Kershaw would have likely started again on Sept. 20, then Don Mattingly could have made a choice depending on the Dodgers' standing after their off day on Sept. 24. With a realistic shot at the division, Mattingly could have had Kershaw start on Sept. 25 or Sept. 26, then pitch against the Giants on Oct. 1.

But if the wild card was the more likely outcome, Kershaw could have pitched on Sept. 30 against the Rockies, then been in line on regular rest to pitch the wild card game on Oct. 5, which looks like it will be played in Atlanta.

However, after getting scratched Sunday, that option no longer exists for Kershaw.

Assuming he is healthy, Kershaw will make five more regular season starts. By starting Tuesday, Kershaw could start on regular rest again Sunday against the Cardinals, Sept. 21 at Cincinnati, Sept. 26 in San Diego, and Oct. 1 at home against the Giants. Unless the Dodgers decide to pitch Kershaw on three days rest (something he has never done), that would put put him in line to start Game 1 of the National League Division Series, either on Oct. 6 (if the Dodgers win the National League West) or Oct. 7 (if they win the wild card game).

However, there is the simple matter of getting there first.

Game Time: 6:40 p.m.

TV: KCAL

MLB Gameday

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