Clayton Kershaw scratched, might need hip surgery

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Clayton Kershaw was terrific while pitching with his sore hip Tuesday, but he wasn’t feeling well enough to give it another go Sunday against the Cardinals. The Dodgers scratched him today and announced that he’d see a specialist on Tuesday.

Stephen Fife will pitch in his place in the finale of a four-game series.

The Dodgers are concerned that Kershaw will need season-ending surgery to repair a labrum tear in his hip. If so, he’d be the third Dodgers starter lost for the season, joining Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly.

Kershaw’s absence leaves the Dodgers with a rotation of Josh Beckett, Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang and Joe Blanton. Fife would be mixed in when a fifth starter is needed. Even if the Dodgers do somehow limp int the postseason with that crew, they’d seem to be easy pickings for whomever they face.

Kershaw, the NL Cy Young Award winner last season, is 12-9 with a 2.70 ERA and 206 strikeouts in 206 2/3 innings this year.

Ketel Marte shut down with back injury

Ketel Marte
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With just over a week left in the regular season, the Diamondbacks have elected to shut down infielder/outfielder Ketel Marte. Marte has been dealing with some lower back inflammation and stiffness over the last few days; on Friday, the team revealed that he was diagnosed with a stress reaction as well.

It doesn’t look as though the injury will compromise Marte’s 2020 campaign, but as Craig noted on Wednesday, his absence will likely have some effect on his NL MVP candidacy. The 25-year-old will wrap his first All-Star season with a .329/.389/.592 batting line, 32 home runs, a .981 OPS, and a staggering, career-best 7.1 fWAR through 628 plate appearances.

Marte told reporters Thursday that the back pain had been an issue “for the past two months,” though he didn’t comment on the severity of the injury. Despite his ability to play through the pain since July, the issue has clearly escalated in the last week or so. Although the loss of their most valuable contributor may have a negative impact on the D-backs’ chances of competing in the postseason, it’s undeniably a wise move to let Marte recuperate rather than pushing him to play for another week and running the risk of further injury.

Entering Friday’s series against the Padres — their last road series of the regular season — Arizona still has a sizable gap to close in order to earn one of two NL wild card spots. They’re five games out of postseason contention, with the Nationals, Brewers, Cubs, Mets, and Phillies ahead of them.