A lot has happened since Los Angeles-Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw took the last mound in the national park on July 3rd.
The Dodgers acquired Max Scherzer and Treya Turner from the Nations. Walker Buhler and Julio Urias now have career seasons. Corey Seeger is back from a fractured wrist and is facing a more consistent clip despite facing a hip problem.
The Dodgers have been winning at a ridiculous rate in all of those positives for the past two and a half months, with even Kershaw missing several months with left-handed stiffness. But since the Dodgers played in Kesho’s absence, there’s no denying that Los Angeles is a great team when future Hall of Famer will be healthy.
After two long months, Kershaw made a successful comeback on the hill on Monday, a 5-1 win over D-Back at Dodger Stadium to give the Dodgers a 5-1 win over 4 1/3 innings on four hits.
With the win, the Dodgers ’magic has come in at number two to earn a place in the post season. They were 2 1/2 games behind the Giants, who beat Padres on Monday in the National League West race. Los Angeles has 17 games left in the regular season.
“It’s great to be able to be a part of it,” Kesho said of rejoining the team as he tried to chase the veterans. “I would never consider it a race to be a part of the playoffs. It’s better now. Monsters don’t lose, so they don’t make it easy for us. This is going to be fun. ”
Kershaw’s outing started instantly, he hit D-backs shortstop Nick Ahmed on four pitches. After that, Kershaw got into some early trouble. Cashel Marte hit a one-out double and Osh Rizona came on board early as Josh Rojas hit a two-out RBI Bloop single in the left field.
Kershaw took 20 pitches to get to the first inning, but the experienced southpaw was able to stabilize. Kesho needed just five pitches to retire side by side in the third inning. In fourth place, Kershaw put Jake McCarthy on a 3-2 slider to put the runner in a scoring position.
As usual, Kershaw leaned on his four-seamer / slider combination most nights. However, he used his curveball more than usual and it proved to be effective. He threw the pitch 12 times, recording three swings and errors.
Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes said, “He was throwing the fastball where he wanted to, and he was a little mixed up.” “His curveball was really good today and his slider is always there. It was a great trip for Kersh and we look forward to bringing him back. ”
One small concern about getting out of Kershaw is his speed. Kershaw sat 88-90 mph with his four-seam fastball all night, his average on the pitch was 89.2 mph, which was lower than his 90.7 season average. The speed on his slider and curveball was also low, but that didn’t stop him from being efficient.
In fact, so efficient, that Kershaw’s trip was a little longer than planned. Kershaw was ready to play four innings and throw more than 60 pitches. But with Kershaw throwing just 4 pitches, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts found it convenient to climb the hill to start the fifth. Kershaw needed a pitch to retire D-backs pitcher Zack Galen, which ended his outing.
“There’s no way to emulate a big league game, really not,” Kershaw said. “You can do all the bullpen, all the rehabilitation, all the exercises you want, but for whatever reason, playing in a big league game is different. I’m glad I got this first behind me and I have some more, hopefully, I can contribute and we can win this thing. ”
The return of Kershaw increases the chances of the Dodgers winning another World Series. It gives the Dodgers another proven starter in rotation, including Sherzer, Buhler and Urias. They will give four Dodgers a chance against any team in the playoff series.
Kershaw admitted he didn’t know what his availability would be like because he was fighting back from a hand injury. But he was able to return on Monday, much to the delight of his colleagues.
“He’s our man,” said Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner. “We’re all excited to see him back there.”