The lefty hit the injured list in early July with forearm inflammation, and he’s still working his way back.
When he finally does return, there’s a pretty good chance that he’ll take on a relief role.
Of course, the Dodgers would rather have him back as a starter, but there might not be enough time left in the season to ramp his workload up to that degree.
Going forward, can L.A. get by without having him in the rotation?
In The Postseason, L.A. Should Be Fine Without Having Kershaw In The Rotation, But The Regular Season Might Be A Different Story
Despite injuries, the Dodgers have played some of their best baseball of the season lately.
The club is 18-4 in the month of August, and things are getting extremely interesting in the National League West.
Right now, just 2.5 games separate the Dodgers and the first-place San Francisco Giants.
With Kershaw out, L.A. is using a four-man rotation at the moment.
It looks like this:
- Max Scherzer (1.55 ERA since joining Dodgers)
- Walker Buehler (2.02 ERA)
- Julio Urias (3.17 ERA)
- David Price (3.92 ERA as a starter)
Tony Gonsolin is another pitcher who’s currently on the IL for the Dodgers.
He has been out for about a month with a shoulder issue.
Before getting hurt, he was a key rotation piece for L.A.
He’s set to return soon, but unfortunately, Gonsolin—like Kershaw—might not have enough time to ramp up his workload to a level where he can rejoin the rotation.
So, is the four-man rotation sustainable?
The answer is sort of complicated.
In a potential postseason series, the Dodgers would absolutely be able to roll with a four-man staff of Scherzer, Buehler, Urias, and Price.
However, until that time comes, the team isn’t going to be able to make it through the rest of the regular season with just four starters.
Fatigue would become too much of a factor if they tried.
Therefore, the Dodgers are going to need to fill in their rotation with one more arm if they want to have a chance at stealing the NL West crown away from the Giants.
Who could the fifth guy be?
Who Should Take The Last Rotation Spot?
Mitch White comes to mind as a candidate to fill the Dodgers’ last rotation spot.
Last week, in a designated bullpen game for L.A., White tossed 7.1 innings of shutout ball.
He allowed just two hits, two walks, and he fanned six batters.
He only needed 91 pitches to do it.
Called on Mitch White and he delivered.
His final line tonight: 7.1 IP, 2H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6K pic.twitter.com/qnMosOBIT8
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) August 19, 2021
He has been used as a multi-innings reliever all season long, so he’s certainly prepared for an opportunity like this.
There’s no good reason why the Dodgers shouldn’t give him a shot.
On the year, the righty has a 3.06 ERA, 3.93 FIP, and 1.19 WHIP.
As mentioned, L.A. won’t need a fifth starter in the postseason, but with the NL West race heating up, the Dodgers need to take the final month of the regular season seriously.
The NL West is wild, but which team will win it? pic.twitter.com/YO38cN6YEF
— MLB (@MLB) August 27, 2021
Rather than doing a bullpen game every fifth day, L.A. should think about filling Kershaw’s void with a guy like White.