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Kershaw Will Keep Throwing, Stripling The Next Man Up

PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 26: Ross Stripling #68 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts as manager Dave Roberts #30 approaches the mound to relieve him during the second inning of the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on September 26, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

The Clayton Kershaw saga continued on Thursday, as Dave Roberts announced that he would continue his throwing program. Kershaw has been slowly progressing from a sore shoulder after the Dodgers shut him down a few weeks ago. His throws extended beyond 120 feet today, which is a good sign.

For Roberts to openly admit that Kershaw probably will not make his Opening Day start is big news. The longtime ace was scheduled to make his ninth straight Opening Day start on March 28th against the Diamondbacks in Los Angeles. That streak appears to be in trouble as he has not even got the chance to pitch in a live game as of today. With exactly three weeks until the season kicks off, it’s possible but not probable that he will be ready.

The good news is that the Dodgers have plenty of options to take his place in that game. Beyond that, they also have plenty of options to fill out the rotation. The next logical choice to enter the rotation is a guy who was an All-Star last season.

Ross Stripling was phenomenal in the first half last year before sputtering to the finish line of the season. Prior to the All-Star break, Stripling appeared in 25 games and pitched to a 2.08 earned run average. He struck out 108 and walked just 14 en route to his first All-Star game honor. Stripling would likely fill out a rotation that looks to consist of Walker Buehler, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, and Hyun-jin Ryu. Julio Urias is still a guy battling for a spot in the rotation, and his Spring performance will further press the issue.

Without Kershaw, any one of those guys could get the nod for Opening Day. However, the rate that the Dodgers have slow played Walker Buehler has many thinking he will not be ready for that start. Rich Hill or Hyun-jin Ryu getting the start would both be amazing to see, especially given Ryu’s performance last year. Personally, I still believe that Walker Buehler will be ready to go and that he will be the guy we get to see that Thursday.

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

10 Comments

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  1. Yes the “next man-up”/depth of the Dodgers roster works for the marathon of a 162-game season, however when the playoffs take-place, you need the core-8 to deliver the championship.

    • Robin, I consider myself to be a pragmatist/realist. To that end, Kershaw has been pushed way back in my mind. My only goal for him is to get better and regain his arm strength and reduce shoulder issues. To that end, moving Strips and even Caleb to the starting rotation becomes a distinct reality. Strips admittedly got tired last year at season’s end; Caleb still needs some polishing, but his upside is very big. Only time will tell. Go Blue!!!

  2. The entire starting 9 for the Dodgers are white guys. If you look at the Dodgers teams that have won WS there’s always blacks in there especially in the OF. This might prevent the Dodgers from being chosen for this years WS title

    • Verdugo is Latino, Hernandez is Latino, Ryu is Korean, Maeda is Japanese, Jansen is from Curacao, Baez is Black. Need I go on?

    • people like you always stir the pot…..we don’t have quotas on who plays baseball or where they play……if you are concerned so much, why don’t you watch basketball……..

      • MLB looks for parallels when deciding whether to give a team a ws title, among other things like storylines. It helps to fill all the criteria when submitting your script

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