LOS ANGELES — Dodgers pitcher Scott Kazmir left his start on Friday night after just one inning, suffering right intercostal spasms.
Kazmir said he first felt tightness in his right side during his second round of warming up in the bullpen before the start, which was a later-than-usual 7:45 p.m. on Friday. Then the tightness returned in the first inning.
"As I got back up, everything on that side just started to tighten up. It was the same thing that happened in OKC, just not as bad, Kazmir said. “It was a tough thing for me to swallow, having to only go one inning. It's awesome what Strip and all those guys did.”
Kazmir left a rehab start with Triple-A Oklahoma City on Sept. 7 after just seven batters with the same injury.
"The body just wasn't responding,” manager Dave Roberts said. “[Kazmir] said he could keep trying to go out there, but it was the responsible thing with the magnitude of this game, if you're not 100% to give someone else the opportunity.”
Where this leaves Kazmir in the mix for the postseason rotation, or perhaps even a start next week, remains to be seen. But Kazmir seemed relatively upbeat after the game.
"It's frustrating, but I feel like we're making progress, and there is no setback,” Kazmir said. “I just have to continue with the treatment and the process and keep looking forward and staying positive.”
Ross Stripling pitched three scoreless innings for the win on Friday, and six Dodgers relievers combined to finish off the game. In seven relief appearances totaling 21⅓ innings, Stripling has a 2.11 ERA with 15 strikeouts and seven walks.
"It's long relief but it's kind of like a start, so I can still pitch like I'm used to, trying to set guys up for another AB,” Stripling said.
"In this role, which we've used him a few times, to give us a little bit of length out of the pen, he's been great,” Roberts said. “He's done well as a starter, but to give us that flexibility tonight was the difference.”
Stripling also said he picked the brains of Joe Blanton and J.P. Howell, both of whom started before a full-time relief role.
“They told me don't give them anything, don’t back down, and everything counts,” Stripling said.
The Dodgers’ player of the game, wrestling-style belt, which started in Miami on the last road trip, was sitting at Stripling’s locker after the game.
"Technically it goes to the whole bullpen, but they let me keep it in my locker,” Stripling said. “That thing is the real deal. It weighs 10 pounds, so it's no joke."
The winner gets to pass the belt to the next player of the game.
The Dodgers have a chance to clinch the National League West as early as Saturday night, with both a win over Colorado and a Giants’ loss to the Padres. The Dodgers will send Clayton Kershaw to the mound for Saturday’s 6:10 p.m. PT game, while the Rockies counter with right-hander Chad Bettis.
Kershaw started and won division clinchers in 2009, 2014 and 2015.
The Giants play the Padres at 5:40 p.m., and have Madison Bumgarner on the mound against Jarred Cosart.