The badly-slumping Cardinals have dropped three straight games and five of their last eight. And now they’ve also lost a member of their starting rotation for a yet-to-be-determined amount of time.
According to MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch, right-hander Jake Westbrook suffered a strained right oblique during his start Saturday night against the Brewers. He has been ruled out for his next turn and there’s a chance he won’t pitch again in the regular season, pending the results of an upcoming exam.
Westbrook has registered a 3.97 ERA and 1.39 WHIP across 174 2/3 innings (28 starts) for second-place St. Louis. The 34-year-old sinkerballer landed a one-year contract extension earlier this summer.
Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal and Lance Lynn are all candidates to take the vacant rotation spot.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.