The Dodgers activated Clayton Kershaw off the bereavement list on Friday ahead of the left-hander’s start on Saturday against the Rays at Tropicana Field. On Thursday, the Dodgers optioned reliever Tayler Scott to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Given that Kershaw isn’t starting until Saturday, I’m a little surprised he was activated on Friday. Under MLB rules, bereavement leave can last a minimum of three days up to a maximum of seven days. Kershaw was placed on the bereavement list on Monday, to be with the family following the death of his mother Marianne.
Given that Dodgers relievers have pitched more innings (49⅓) than the starters (40⅓) over the last 10 games, and on Friday will start Noah Syndergaard, who has averaged 4.58 innings over his last four non-blister-shortened starts, any potential relief help would be welcome. The off day Thursday no doubt alleviated the stress of the bullpen, so that likely factored into things.
Kershaw is coming off two short starts of his own, allowing two runs on four innings on May 16 against the Twins, and giving up four runs in 3⅔ innings last Sunday in St. Louis. He did strike out a third of his batters faced in those two starts, but it marked the first time Kershaw had back-to-back starts without recording an out in the fifth inning since his rookie year in 2008.
On Saturday, he’ll be pitching on five days rest for the seventh time in 11 starts this season.
Tyler Glasnow will start for the Rays on Saturday, making his season debut after missing nearly two months with a strained oblique. Kershaw vs. Glasnow is a rematch of Games 1 and 5 of the 2020 World Series,
Scott was active for the entire series against the Braves, but did not pitch in any of the three games. The right-hander, who turns 31 next Friday, has a 1.08 ERA in 16 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City, with 20 strikeouts and 10 walks in 16⅔ innings.