As he prepared for the fifth descent, Kershaw felt his back tight after his penultimate warm-up throw. Then he tried to throw another one for a back test, but he immediately pointed to the Dodgers’ lair. He left the match with coach Thomas Albert.
Kershaw said he will know more after he sees how he wakes up on Friday and after a series of tests. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts also said there’s always a level of anxiety when it comes to Kershaw’s back, but they won’t have much information until Friday.
“It’s a reasonable amount,” Kershaw said, when asked how frustrating it is to deal with more back issues. “I felt a little stuck there on the fifth. Can’t really throw up after that.”
The future Hall of Famer has dealt with back problems throughout his career, landing on the back injury list in five of his last seven seasons. Kershaw missed less than three weeks in each of those tasks on the casualty list. This season, Kershaw missed a month with his right SI arthritis, which flared up during a cross-country trip.
Although the Dodgers will know more after the test, another task on Kershaw’s casualty list isn’t off the table.
“I wouldn’t try to stray too far from that,” Roberts said. “Obviously any time a bowler has to come out of a match there is a bit of a concern. Again, given his back, which has been a problem at times – we won’t know more until we do some testing.”
If Kershaw has to waste time, it will be another big blow for the Dodgers. When Kershaw was healthy, he was one of the club’s top shooters, scoring 2.64 ERAs over 15 starts. The Dodgers did not trade the starting poles before the August 2 trading deadline. Instead, they traded away from Mitch White – their best piece of depth.
Dustin May, who ran four rounds with Triple-A Oklahoma City during Wednesday’s rehab job, will need at least one more outing at the Minors before he’s a candidate to replace any starts Kershaw might miss. Ryan Pepiot, who has a 2.76 ERA in four starts this season, is also an option.
Seeing Kershaw leaving the game was about the one thing that went wrong for the Dodgers during their 7-1 road trip against the Rockies and Giants. The Los Angeles team won eight games in a row against the Giants, and swept them in a four-game series in San Francisco for the first time since 1977.
The Dodgers’ dominance and the Giants’ frustration emerged in the sixth inning as loyalist Garleen Garcia mocked the Los Angeles celebration after defeating Cody Bellinger and James Ottman. After the second hit finished the frame, García signaled to Mookie Betts, who was on the deck, walking off the field. Bates made an exception.
“I don’t know. I didn’t do anything. I didn’t do anything,” said Bates, who hit his #25 home this season to put the Dodgers ahead in fourth. “I think he felt a certain way. I don’t know. You have to ask him.”
After the match, Garcia said he had no intention of disrespecting any of the Dodgers’ players and that the Giants were also there to compete. Garcia also said that Bates is “one of my favorite players”. But Garcia happened to pump the Dodgers, who were more lively after Homer’s Tria Turner in the seventh.
“I won’t back down at this point,” Bates said. “I will not run from him. I will not encourage her, but I will not run away.”
Over the past month and a half, the Dodgers (72-33) have not evaded any challenges. They are 39 games over 0.500 and are up 21 1/2 games in NL West On the third place giants. Since the All-Star break, the Dodgers have been 12-3, the best mark in the Majors.
Even though the turbulent Kershaw is a hit to spin, the Dodgers have been clicking all cylinders for a long period of time. It looks like a good time to host Padres on Friday, their first meeting since San Diego’s acquisition of Juan Soto, Josh Bell, Josh Hader and Brandon Drury.
“We play really well baseball,” Roberts said. “We do things to win baseball games. It’s really nice to see him.”