Clayton Kershaw's recovery from a back injury hits a troubling roadblock
The ace's back didn't respond well during his simulated game
Kershaw "didn't feel great" after the sim game on Saturday. So unlikely he pitches vs. @Cardinals. Still no timetable for return.— Alanna Rizzo (@alannarizzo) July 19, 2016
There's no real way to sugarcoat it: This is awful news for the Dodgers.
Kershaw is the best pitcher on the planet. He's 11-2 with a 1.79 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 145 strikeouts in 121 innings. The Dodgers are 14-2 in games he's started this season compared to 38-40 when he doesn't.
The Dodgers entered Tuesday holding onto the first NL wild-card spot, but only two games up on the first team not in a wild-card slot (they are a game up on the Marlins, who have a one-game lead over the Mets for spot No. 2).
Kershaw hasn't pitched since June 26 and now it sounds like he won't be pitching again for quite a bit. If he didn't feel well during a simulated game on Saturday, one has to envision that he'll wait a little bit before going at it again. Then he'd need to get through the session without any pain and work his way back into game shape. We could be looking at the middle of August, or maybe even later.
Thanks to injuries, a team that looked to have good pitching depth is a bit depleted. Should they trade someone (maybe Yasiel Puig -- as is a rumor) to shore this up? The deadline is less than two weeks again.
What we do know for sure is that Kershaw is out for at least another few weeks, and that hurts the Dodgers in a big way.
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