Clayton Kershaw is at Camelback Ranch preparing for what he and the Dodgers hope will be another special season for the future Hall of Famer.
Kershaw missed over two months last season with back pain, but he said he’s healthy and wants to make every start.
Kershaw said he is not concerned or worried about his health.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) February 15, 2017
Clayton Kershaw says his goal for 2017 is to make every start. The Dodgers would like that.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) February 15, 2017
Early in the 2016 season, the Dodgers seemed incapable of winning without Kershaw on the mound. He left his June 24 start against Pittsburgh and L.A. was supposedly finished. Instead, the team went 38-24 and built a two-game division lead before he returned. Kershaw was back in early September – giving him five “warmup” starts before the postseason. He closed game 5 against Washington, then lost game 6 in final contest of the season.
Most pundits will pick Kershaw as the preseason NL Cy Young winner. He was in the midst of a historically dominant 2016 before his injury. Kershaw was on pace to set the MLB record for strikeout to walk ratio, and he was the runaway favorite for the award in late June.
While the Dodgers succeeded for a stretch without him, they won’t win it all without Kershaw. A healthy regular season Kershaw might be the difference between homefield, and in turn could be the difference in where a pivotal game 5 or 7 is played.
In other words, a team would benefit from the best pitcher in the sport being healthy. Who knew?