News that sent shudders through Dodgers fans everywhere broke today that Clayton Kershaw – Kid K, the franchise, the greatest pitcher in the game today – is battling issues with a stiff and sore back.
According to manager Dave Roberts, the pitcher who has carried the Dodgers on his back for most of the season, has received treatment for this condition for at least a few weeks. However, this morning was the first time news of it hit the general airwaves.
Kershaw’s last start was rocky. The usually reliable workhorse lasted only six innings and he took the loss. He gave up 9 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, and only struck out four. Despite putting up numbers that matched the usual line for all the other Dodgers pitchers, Roberts insisted Kershaw’s ailing back had nothing to do with his mediocre performance.
That statement may be true, since Kershaw has been receiving treatments for weeks and he has still managed to put up an 11-2 record (tying him for the league lead), and a 1.79ERA. At 121 innings, Kershaw leads the majors in innings pitched, WAR (4.8), strike outs (145), and shutouts (3). In addition to all of that, his K to BB ratio is an incredible 20.1 to 1. The major league record is 11.6 to 1. It’s doubtful he could have put up those types of numbers with a bad back.
Kershaw was on the field in Pittsburgh this morning for his usual day-after workouts, and did not show anything was obviously bothering him.
At this point, we’ll have to take the skipper’s word for it that Kershaw will make his next start, this Friday against the Rockies. Fingers crossed!