For the first time since, May 1st, the Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw took the mound. Kershaw, who spent most of May on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis, completed only five innings, an outing that eventually turned into a 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Phillies get a gift run
Philadelphia’s only run off of Kershaw occurred in the second inning. Maikel Franco reached base on a walk with one gone. Then, Nick Williams slapped a single to put a Franco in scoring position. Jorge Alfaro continued the hit parade, dropping a ball right in front of the Dodgers’ center fielder, Cody Bellinger.
This is where it gets weird. The Alfaro single scored Franco from second base. Replays show, though, that Franco never touched home plate. However, the run still counted as the Dodgers did not challenge the ruling.
Kershaw leaves earlier than expected
What was supposed to be a triumphant return, quickly turned to cause for concern. At the end of the fifth inning, an inning in which he struck out the side, Kershaw walked gingerly back to the dugout.
The reason for concern has to do with his pitch selection and velocity. During Kershaw’s final inning, the lefty did not throw a single fastball. He could not get his mechanics flowing in the direction he wanted.
According to Brooks Baseball, Kershaw’s fastball topped out at 90.8 MPH tonight, while his slider peaked at 89.4.
When you compare that to the velocity of his pitches during his last outing, you will see an uptick across his four pitches. Against Arizona, that same fastball reached 93.3.
Back tightness … cause for concern?
So what exactly happened then? Dodger manager Dave Roberts said this about his ace, “I just saw that his stuff started to back up. The fastball, slider and the curve, everything seemed to kick down a bit.”
Kershaw, as one could imagine, was not in the best of moods after his outing. “Beyond frustrating. I felt like I was out of the woods. I was feeling good and then to have that crop up.”
Where do the Dodgers go from here? Kershaw did say that up until today, his back felt fine. We would assume that the organization will take his health day by day.
Could he avoid the DL this time around? “Being on the DL is no fun. … But maybe I can avoid that, we’ll have to see what happens.”
Clayton Kershaw is schedule to get an MRI tomorrow and will not travel with the Dodgers, as they take on the Colorado Rockies.