News broke on Thursday that Los Angeles Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw (lower back) would be heading to the 15-day disabled list. This is the second time in his career that Kershaw is headed to the DL.

Prior to this injury, Kershaw was having yet another record breaking season with an 11-2 record and 1.79 era, 10.8K/9, not to mention his historic 16:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio though an MLB leading 121 innings, thus far.

Manager, Dave Roberts did not indicate what Kershaw’s timetable currently looks like, but did express hope for a comeback after the All-Star break.

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Whatever period of time the Dodgers are without Kershaw, losing Kershaw for even one start is an irreplaceable commodity for the Dodgers. There has been no question about Kershaw’s worth to the team. The Dodgers are 14-2 (.875) in games when Kershaw starts and 29-35 (.453) without.

The already depleted starting rotation is going to have to string together a couple of starts if they want to stay in contention for a fourth consecutive NL West title. Current Dodgers’ starters not named Kershaw have a 16-23 record with a 4.4 era.

Kershaw will join Bandon McCarthy, Hyun-jin Ryu, Alex Wood and Brett Anderson of Dodgers’ starters on the disabled list.

It’s obvious to note the arm of Kershaw cannot be replace with anyone in the farm system or anyone in the league. It’s tough to replace the best. But it’s important to find the silver lining in this situation.

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First, the timing couldn’t have been any better for the Dodgers. Of course ideally you’d never like to have this problem, but with the way the Dodgers’ season has been depleted by injuries all season long, are you really surprised?

The Dodgers just wrapped up another series victory against the Brewers leaving them with 44-37 record on the year, 5.5 games back of the Giants with 10 games to play before the All-Star break.

The Dodgers close out the midway point of the season with a ten game home stand against the (3) Colorado Rockies, (3) Baltimore Orioles and (4) San Diego Padres. The Dodgers have a 23-15 record at home this season.

Kershaw was scheduled to pitch two times during that home stand (Friday, vs COL & Wednesday vs BAL), leaving him in line to start for the National League. Now that Kershaw has been sent to the disabled-list (retroactive June 26th), that means Kershaw will be eligible for reinstatement on July 10th, just before the All-Star break.

Giving Kershaw those extra four days of rest during the break on top of 15 day DL stint gives Kershaw 19 days to rest his back and perhaps more importantly, his arm.

Kershaw to this point of the season has pitched 121 innings, averaging 7 and ? per start. That currently puts his projected seasonal total at approximately 245 innings, this total would set a new career high for Kershaw, breaking his current career high set in 2013 (236).

Coincidentally, the following season Kershaw opened the 2014 season on the disabled-list for the first time in his career. Why was he on the DL? — you guessed it, back pain (spasms).

Now we all know Kershaw is a workhorse. He’s been a lock for pitching over 200 innings with an era anywhere from 2.50 or below for the past six seasons, so what’s the big deal, right?

As much of a tough competitor that Kershaw is, he needs rest. While it’s never been publicly acknowledge that Kershaw has suffered from fatigue during past postseason, he does. The club, let along Kershaw will never use that as an excuse for his postseason collapses.

It goes without saying that the Dodgers need to monitor his workload to avoid a fourth-year postseason collapse. Now I’m not saying to put him on an innings restriction or a firm pitch count, he’s 28 and in the prime of his career. His body is ready to record this many outs and quite frankly at 28 he’s not getting any younger.

The case I’m making is: why not save the outs for the appropriate time like a late season push and postseason run.

The Dodgers’ current state in the season makes this DL stint look worse than it actually is. With what we know so far of the extent of Kershaw’s injury, there’s no need to panic, yet. If this injury blows over and is just a few starts that Kershaw misses, the NL West is certainly still attainable.

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About The Author

Cesar recently received a BA in Literary Journalism from the University of California, Irvine. Cesar is a Los Angeles native and currently employed with UC Irvine where he works with a center that assists first generation, minority, and low-income students achieve higher education. Cesar has a strong passion for Dodger baseball and is gratified to be able to hear the greatness of Vin Scully and Chick Hearn. Cesar has been publicized in the New University newspaper, ClutchPoints, Hypun, and OC Weekly.

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