LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers rotation for the upcoming week is fluid, though at least for the moment the plan is for Los Angeles to stay in order with Noah Syndergaard starting on Monday, Clayton Kershaw on Tuesday, and Dustin May on Wednesday.
Syndergaard came out of his bullpen session on Saturday fine, and will start Monday with his right index finger covered in Dermabond, a skin adhesive that he used for three starts but not on Tuesday in Milwaukee, when a bleeding right finger ended his start after just one inning.
Kershaw’s mother Marianne died on Saturday, which his wife Ellen revealed at the dedication of a Dodgers Dreamfield with Kershaw’s Challenge in Inglewood on Saturday.
The @DodgersFdn unveiled their 59th and 60th Dreamfields in Inglewood earlier today. Clayton Kershaw's charity foundation, @KershsChallenge, supported the event, which turned into a heartfelt dedication following the passing of his mother this morning. #Dodgers pic.twitter.com/KRiug6jTiJ— Sports Central LA (@SportsCentralLA) May 13, 2023
“One person in particular cultivated that love [of baseball] in Clayton: his dear mama, Marianne, who moved mountains to get him to baseball practice and games,” Ellen Kershaw said Saturday. “She sat front row, cheering him on — not so subtly — and kept score in a book to keep her nerves at bay. So today we dedicate this field to his sweet mom, who passed away and went to be with the Lord this morning.
“She experienced no greater joy than watching her son grow into the man, the philanthropist, the father, and the ballplayer that he is today.”
Kershaw was not at the Dreamfield dedication on Saturday, but has been at Dodger Stadium all weekend, including throwing in the outfield before Sunday afternoon’s game, on Mother’s Day.
Dave Roberts said Kershaw could go on bereavement leave after Tuesday’s start, depending on what the family chooses.
“I’m sure this is a day that he has a heavy heart, but as far as I understand, he’ll make his start on Tuesday,” manager Dave Roberts said. “When you’re dealing with the passing of a parent, that’s up there as tough as it gets. It’s very stressful.”
Syndergaard said Sunday morning he was good to go after experiencing no problems during his bullpen session Saturday. Now the question is how will he do. He’s struggled mightily this year with a 6.12 ERA and opponents hitting .308/.345/.496 against him.
But while covering his finger might prevent the blister from breaking and bleeding, how it affects his pitching is still in question.
In his first three starts of the season, without any finger issues, Syndergaard struck out 17 batters (a 24.3-percent strikeout rate) with two quality starts. But with his finger covered, Syndergaard only struck out four batters (5.9 percent) with one quality start.
And after getting skipped over for last weekend’s Padres series for a “reset,” Syndergaard will enter Monday having pitched just one inning in the last two weeks.
“The effectiveness and the quality of pitches, it’s something we’re certainly going to be mindful of,” Roberts said. “But I think the build-up, it hasn’t been long enough to where we’re concerned about that.”
Gavin Stone has been listed all week as Sunday’s starter for Triple-A Oklahoma City, on what would have been four days rest. But William Cuevas started instead for OKC. Stone would be the logical replacement should Syndergaard or Kershaw have to miss time, but Roberts said Sunday that Stone was not in Los Angeles.
When asked about a contingency plan if Syndergaard can’t pitch Monday, Roberts said, “We’ll have to adapt with the guys we have, but I think with all of us, we have all the confidence [Syndergaard] will be able to go deep in the game and pitch efficiently.”