The return of Los Angeles Dodgers star pitcher Clayton Kershaw has been pushed back until September. The Dodgers were expecting Kershaw to be starting by August. But during Wednesday’s game against the Houston Astros, the left-hander was wearing a sleeve on his left arm. Kershaw does not normally wear a sleeve on his arm. Then on Friday, Kershaw said during a live stream with the media that they should not expect to see him return to the field until September. The Dodgers were loath to label this a setback in Kershaw’s recovery. But Kershaw said that he tried to return to the field too quickly. “It’s still nothing serious, but it’s just something that’s going to take a little bit of time,” said Kershaw.
Kershaw Return Pushed Back
Kershaw has been on the injured list since July 7th with left elbow soreness. Prior to the injury, Clayton pitched to a 3.39 ERA with 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings. The southpaw only issued 1.6 walks per nine innings and had a WHIP of 0.98. The three-time Cy Young Award winner’s FIP is lower than his ERA at 2.99. Kershaw has struck out 127 batters in 106 1/3 innings while only walking 19. The 33-year-old is still an elite pitcher and the Dodgers would love to have him back on the field.
While his numbers remain great and the Dodgers continue to downplay his injury, fans have reason to be concerned. Clayton’s quality start percentage has dropped from 89% in 2014 down to 61% this season. Kershaw has not pitched more than 180 innings in a season since 2015. From 2016-2019 he averaged 25.5 starts per season. From 2009-2015 he averaged 31.6 starts per season, which was great. He has had back problems in the recent past and may be starting to wear an injury-prone label. After all, he pitches six fewer games per season than he used to pitch on average. Kershaw has 18 starts in 2021 and will not likely start more than five or six games prior to the end of regular-season play. That is if Kershaw can get back on the field in September to finish off the season.
Clayton Kershaw is earning $31 million in 2021 and will be a free agent following the season if the Dodgers do not re-sign him.
Embed from Getty Images