Slowly but surely the Dodgers will be getting some arms back in September, and Monday brought encouraging news for two important pieces.
“Today was a good day for the Dodgers, so far,” manager Dave Roberts said to the media this afternoon.
We’ll start with Clayton Kershaw, who is nearing two months he’s spent on the injured list. While dealing with elbow soreness, the Dodgers have been cautious as they ease him back. The veteran threw a simulated game at Dodger Stadium, throwing one inning.
“I don’t want to be cautiously optimistic,” Roberts said. “It was one inning. He let it go. Threw his fastball, slider and changeup. We’re all encouraged. The big tell is how he feels tomorrow. Assuming he feels good, we can bump up the progression.”
In regards to the next step for Kershaw, Roberts said that he’ll throw another bullpen session soon if he comes out of this feeling good. That will be followed by a two-inning simulated game.
Up next is Tony Gonsolin, who was placed on the IL in July with right shoulder inflammation. It’s been a rough 2021 for Gonsolin, as he’s had two separate and lengthy IL stints.
“Tony went two innings,” Roberts said. “Looked really good and sharp. He was pretty excited afterward. We’ll see how he comes out of it tomorrow. A three-inning stint at an affiliate is in his near future.”
With a very depleted starting rotation, getting Gonsolin back in the coming weeks to eat innings sure would be a bonus for the Dodgers.
Kershaw and Gonsolin each faced Quakes outfielders José Ramos and Edwin Mateo in their simulated games.
For only the second time since the trade deadline, the Dodgers’ lineup on Monday will be what Andrew Friedman envisioned when he acquired Trea Turner. With numerous injuries and off-days, we’ve seen this lineup only once over the last month.
With so many good names in the lineup, someone has to be the odd man out. Against left-handed pitching, it looks like Cody Bellinger will be the choice.
“We have other guys that have performed really well against left-handers,” Roberts said. “It gives Cody a day to reset when left-handers pitch. For the most part, I don’t see him against lefties at this time. It’ll give him time to get off his feet, work on mechanics and get the body strong. Where we’re at, this is where we’re at with our ball club.”
Bellinger has struggled all season, but he’s been worse against lefties. He’s hitting .129 with an OPS of .428 against southpaws in 2021. In 79 plate appearances he has only one home run and three runs driven in.
Yes, I had to double check to make sure those numbers were accurate. It’s been a rough season for Bellinger, man. Hopefully this new role for him can benefit him and help him turn his season around over the final month.