Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said on Monday that ace Clayton Kershaw may not have enough time to get ready for the start of the regular season, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Kershaw has been bothered by a left shoulder injury since spring training began in mid-February.
The last time a Dodger not named Kershaw got the Opening Day start was Vicente Padilla back in 2010. The regular season begins for the Dodgers on March 28 at home against the Diamondbacks. If Kershaw is inable to take the bump, Walker Buehler or Rich Hill will likely get the nod.
Kershaw, 30, has been bitten by the injury bug in each of the last three seasons. He last crossed the 30-start plateau in 2015. Last year, the lefty went 9-5 with a 2.73 ERA and a 155/29 K/BB ratio in 161 1/3 innings across 26 starts.
The Dodgers and Kershaw agreed to a three-year, $93 million contract extension back in November. While the club would love to have Kershaw start on Opening Day, there’s no reason to rush him before he’s actually ready.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.
Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.
Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.
Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.